The Mother – Deepak Kumar Pattanayak

Holy holier-divinely; 
Things are with her 
As perceived and adorned gracefully 
Lots of love and lots of pity 
Along she is carrying 
Of quintessence motherly 
In her exemplified 
The feminine persona so lovely 
More and more and not less 
I see and God confess 
She is holier than me 
Sent to care your needs 
Alleviate your sufferings 
Brighten your dreams 
Like an Angel in the morning 
Seen among lovely flowers 
Caressing and them preparing 
To see a beautiful day dawning 
And the day passed off peacefully 
Unto noon and evening 
And seen her bidding children 
Good-night with words so soothing 
Oh mother! what you are 
Made of which stuff so rare 
For me and for all 
You weep your tears 
A drop falls on him 
Another on her 
A dozen on them 
A few goes out 
To form an ocean 
Of love for your children 
Unto I would love 
Diving deep to die even 
For not in vain will go 
Your love and affection 
My dear my mother 
You are, I swear 
As good as heaven…… 

A Bride – Deepak Kumar Pattanayak

Upon the verge; 
Of some new dawn 
You blossom to be a woman 
And a bride of a man 
An angel of love and light 
Pure and faithful you become 
Bound soul to soul 
By life’s holiest laws 
Sent out from Heaven’s source 
Glow like a star on its course 
Abandon playthings of life 
To be entrusted noble work 
Of woman and of wife 
You are so happy now 
To be merged with someone’s life 
Tender smiles shine 
And lofty thoughts creep in 
Yet on promised land 
Of love and happiness 
Flowers blossom and perish 
Good and bad days rally 
May fall saddest tears daily 
But with love and love only 
You may sail through storm of life easily…………….

Come To My Pavilion – Mirabai

Come to my pavilion, O my King.
I have spread a bed made of
delicately selected buds and blossoms,
And have arrayed myself in bridal garb
From head to toe.
I have been Thy slave during many births,
Thou art the be-all of my existence.
Mira’s Lord is Hari, the Indestructible.
Come, grant me Thy sight at once.

Mira is Steadfast – Mirabai

I will not be restrained now, O Rana,
Despite all you do to block my path.

I have torn off the veil of worldly shame;
Only the company of Saints is dear to me.

Merta, my parents’ home, I have left for good.
My surat and nirat, awakened,
Now shine bright.

My master has revealed to me
The mirror within my own body;
Now I’ll sing and dance in ecstasy.

Keep to your self your gems and jewelry;
I have discarded them all, O Rana.

My true Lord I have come to behold;
None knows of this wealth within the body.

I fancy not your forts and palaces
Nor want silken robes wrought with gold.

Mira, unadorned and unbedecked,
Roams intoxicated in the Lord’s love.

A Great Yogi – Mirabai

In my travels I spent time with a great yogi.
Once he said to me.
“Become so still you hear the blood flowing
through your veins.”

One night as I sat in quiet,
I seemed on the verge of entering a world inside so vast
I know it is the source of
all of

Labor And Labor – Gajanan Mishra

Labor and labor,
labor is your destiny.
There is love
There is truth
And there is money.
labor is your destiny.
To establish yourself
Labor is but a necessity.
Make each and every day
A labor day and go on
working with an aim
To attain the truth.
Your labor is unbroken bliss,
Your labor is self-bliss.
Merge into your labor, my dear,
And see how you are winning
The fire and the water,
And see how finer you are here.

Hope For Him – Kabir

O friend! hope for Him whilst you live, know whilst you live,
understand whilst you live: for in life deliverance abides.
If your bonds be not broken whilst living, what hope of
deliverance in death?
It is but an empty dream, that the soul shall have union with Him
because it has passed from the body:
If He is found now, He is found then,
If not, we do but go to dwell in the City of Death.
If you have union now, you shall have it hereafter.
Bathe in the truth, know the true Guru, have faith in the true
Kabîr says: ‘It is the Spirit of the quest which helps; I am the slave of this Spirit of the quest.

Rains Have Come – Amir Khusro

Dear Mom, send my dad across; the rainy season has come.
Oh, dear daughter, how can I?
Your dad’s too old; the rainy season has come.
Dear Mom, send my brother across; the rainy season has come.
Oh, dear daughter, how can I?
Your brother’s too young; the rainy season has come.
Dear Mom, send my uncle across; the rainy season has come.
Oh, dear daughter, how can I?
Your uncle’s too dandy; the rainy season has come.

My Youth – Amir Khusro

My youth is budding, is full of passion;
How can I spend this time without my beloved?
Would someone please coax Nizamuddin Aulia,
The more I appease him, the more annoyed he gets;
My youth is budding……
Want to break these bangles against the cot,
And throw up my blouse into fire,
The empty bed scares me,
The fire of separation keeps burning me.
Oh, beloved. My youth is budding.

Saat Surma Bolaucha Prem – Gorakh Pandey

आमा, म जोगीसँग जान्छु

शिरीषको रूखमुनि

भेटिएको थियो ऊ

उसको हातमा थियो फगत बाँसुरी एउटा

आँखामा थियो आकाशको सपना

पाउमा धुलो र घाउ



भौंतारिन्छ जोगी

मानौं, खोजिहिँड्छ गुमाएको प्रेम

बिर्सिएका याद र नामहरू

बाँसुरीको धुनमा समेट्दै

देख्नेबित्तिकै मैले मन पराएँ उसलाई

आमा, म जोगीसँग जान्छु

छैन उसको ठाउँ-ठेगाना

न छ जातपात

गाउँ र जंगलमा

वेदनाको राग गुञ्जाउँदै भौंतारिन्छ जोगी

के बह होला उसलाई, आमा

यो धर्तीमा उसले

कहिल्यै पाएन कि प्रेम ?

आमा, म जोगीसँग जान्छु

बिहेको दिन

मलाई लिन

आउनेछन् जन्ती

डोली, कलश, बाजागाजा लिएर

सुन्दर परिधानमा रवाफसाथ घोडामा सवार भएर

आउलान् दुलहा

मलाई नदेखेर उनीहरू रिसाए भने

संकोच नमान्नू, आमा

तिमीले धेरै सहेकी छौ

तिमीलाई थाहा छ-

स्त्रीको कलेजो कसरी पत्थर बन्छ

कसरी स्त्री

महलको खोपीमा सजाउनलायक

पत्थर बन्छे

म त हुँ हाडमासुकी स्त्री

हुन सक्दिनँ पत्थर

न हुन सक्छु बिक्रीको माल

तिमी सजाइदिनू डोली

राखिदिनू त्यसमा काठको पुतली

त्यसलाई घुम्टो पनि ओढाइदिनू

र, भनिदिनू उनीहरूलाई-

यही हो तिमीहरूकी दुलही !

म त जोगीसँग जान्छु, आमा

सुन, ऊ बाँसुरी बजाइरहेको छ

सात सुरमा मलाई बोलाइरहेको छ प्रेम

म कसरी उसलाई

नाइँ भन्न सक्छु ?


The Kiss – Rabindranath Tagore

Lips’ language to lips’ ears.
Two drinking each other’s heart, it seems.
Two roving loves who have left home,
pilgrims to the confluence of lips.
Two waves rise by the law of love
to break and die on two sets of lips.
Two wild desires craving each other
meet at last at the body’s limits.
Love’s writing a song in dainty letters,
layers of kiss-calligraphy on lips.
Plucking flowers from two sets of lips
perhaps to thread them into a chain later.
This sweet union of lips
is the red marriage-bed of a pair of smiles. 

Sleep – Rabindranath Tagore

In the night of weariness 
let me give myself up to sleep without struggle, 
resting my trust upon thee. 

Let me not force my flagging spirit into a poor preparation for thy worship. 

It is thou who drawest the veil of night upon the tired eyes of the day 
to renew its sight in a fresher gladness of awakening. 

A Poem – Majeed Amjad

Sons, my native land has sons
born on soil
barren and rocky and lone
for ages lone
across the gaping wilderness tear
ruthless winds and torrents of pain
sweep in epochs.
sweep them out.

Sons of mountains
radiant petals of jasmine gay
specks of time-less age-less rocks
elegant, fair and tender moulds
lumps of leathern coarsened hearts
damned by sun and wind and time
dashed from tops.
they seek a home
lost in dust beneath their feet

On a heap of squalid unscrubbed pans
immersed in simmering scalding water
the toiling sweating hands do seek
the blessed home
for ages they have thought and dreamed.

In towns flourshing
along the banks of mountain brooks
stays a-while
a fleeting cloud of gloom.
The Home!
and from an urban sheeted roof
curls into waves of trailing smoke.

The brook is limpid murmuring gold
the smoke is trailing meandering gold
the killers are killers
of conscience grace and candid souls
if ever they marked
the wave of anguish
a dash, a span
among the torrents of water and sweat
the rocks in hearts
the dark sinister rocks would fall.

A Twinkle in Her Eyes – Majeed Amjad

Who can say

Why her eyes,

Those playmates of the hamlet where Beauty dwells,

Why her eyes smile that way ?

When notes arising from her soul,

That Temple-Palace of Music,

And traipsing through the land of glad tidings,

Mirthfully smothering the tinkling of their anklets,

Tip toe up, haltingly, secretively,

To the gates of her lips,

Why her gaze sparkles and smiles ?

Leaping over islands of silence

And wastelands of sealed lip pining,

When the silhouettes of desire

Come waltzing in

To nestle in an intimate moment’s nest,

Why her gaze sparkles and smiles ?

Her soul, that Sprite-Princess,

Neither lifts her veil

Nor voices her song

And when her heart’s ballad

Passes through distant, unexplored worlds

As the faint, lingering sounds of a flute …

Why her gaze sparkles and smiles !

Autumn – Kalidasa

HE autumn comes, a maiden fair
In slenderness and grace,
With nodding rice-stems in her hair
And lilies in her face.
In flowers of grasses she is clad;
And as she moves along,
Birds greet her with their cooing glad
Like bracelets’ tinkling song.

A diadem adorns the night
Of multitudinous stars;
Her silken robe is white moonlight,
Set free from cloudy bars;
And on her face (the radiant moon)
Bewitching smiles are shown:
She seems a slender maid, who soon
Will be a woman grown.

Over the rice-fields, laden plants
Are shivering to the breeze;
While in his brisk caresses dance
The blossomed-burdened trees;
He ruffles every lily-pond
Where blossoms kiss and part,
And stirs with lover’s fancies fond
The young man’s eager heart.

Strange Is The Path When You Offer Love – Mirabai

Do not mention the name of love,
O my simple-minded companion.
Strange is the path
When you offer your love.
Your body is crushed at the first step.

If you want to offer love
Be prepared to cut off your head
And sit on it.
Be like the moth,
Which circles the lamp and offers its body.
Be like the deer, which, on hearing the horn,
Offers its head to the hunter.
Be like the partridge,
Which swallows burning coals
In love of the moon.
Be like the fish
Which yields up its life
When separated from the sea.
Be like the bee,
Entrapped in the closing petals of the lotus.

Mira’s lord is the courtly Giridhara.
She says: Offer your mind
To those lotus feet.

The Spiritual Athlete Often Changes The Color Of His Clothes – Kabir

The spiritual athlete often changes the color of his clothes,
and his mind remains gray and loveless.

He sits inside a shrine room all day,
so that the Guest has to go outdoors and praise the rocks.

Or he drills holes in his ears, his hair grows
enormous and matted,
people mistake him for a goat…
He goes out into wilderness areas, strangles his impulses,
and makes himself neither male nor female…

He shaves his skull, puts his robe in an orange vat,
reads the Bhagavad-Gita, and becomes a terrific talker.

Kabir says: Actually you are going in a hearse
to the country of death,
bound hand and foot!

I Talk To My Inner Lover, And I Say, Why Such Rush? – Kabir

I talk to my inner lover, and I say, why such rush?
We sense that there is some sort of spirit that loves
birds and animals and the ants—
perhaps the same one who gave a radiance to you
in your mother’s womb.
Is it logical you would be walking around entirely
orphaned now?
The truth is you turned away yourself,
and decided to go into the dark alone.
Now you are tangled up in others, and have forgotten
what you once knew,
and that’s why eveything you do has some weird
failure in it.

I Do Not Care About Social Norms – Mirabai

I will fasten the bells of his love to my feet
And dance in front of Girdhar.
Dancing and dancing I will please his eyes;
My love is an ancient one.
My love is the only truth.

I do not care about social norms
Nor do I keep my family’s honour.
I cannot forget, even for a moment,
The beauty of my lover.
I am dyed in Hari’s colour.

Strange Are The Decrees Of Fate – Mirabai

Strange are the decrees of fate.

Behold the large eyes of the deer!
Yet he is forced to roam the forests.

The harsh crane has brilliant plumage,
While the sweet-voiced cuckoo is black.

The rivers flow in pure streams,
But the sea makes them salt.

Fools sit on thrones as kings,
While the wise beg their bread.

Mira’s lord is the courtly Giridhara:
The king persecutes the Bhaktas.

Only He Knows The Bitterness Of Love – Mirabai

Only he knows the bitterness of love

Who has deeply felt its pangs.

When you are in trouble

No one comes near you:

When fortune smiles.

All come to share the joy.

Love shows no external wound.

But the pain pervades every pore

Devotee Mira offers her body

As a sacrifice to Giridhara for ever.

poem – awake o ! prince of braj

Awake, Krishna,
awake the lotus-petals
open the water-lilies droop
the bumblebees have left
the creepers cocks crow,
and birds chirp on the trees.
The cows are in the byre lowing;
they run after their calves;
the moon fades before the sun.
Men and women arise
and joyfully sing their songs;
Krishna, of hands lotus-like awake,
for the day is about to dawn.

shattered desire – vidyapati thakur

Swelling breasts, hard, like golden cups.
Those wanton glances have stolen my heart,
O beautiful one, protest no longer.
I am eager as a bee, let me take your honey.
Darling, I beg you, holding your hands,
Do not be cruel, have pity on me.
I shall say that again and again,
No more can I suffer the agony of love.

thinner than a crescent – vidyapati thakur

Her tears carved a river
And she broods on its bank,
Hurt and confused.
You ask her one thing,
She speaks of another.
Her friends believe
That joy may come again.
At times they banish hope
And cease to care.

O Madhava,
I have run to call you.
Radha each day
Grows thinner
Thinner than the crescent in the sky…

time and love – vidyapati thakur

As I guard my honor,
My love in a foreign land
Ravishes beauties
Who belong to others.
Safely he will come,
But he has left me dead.

O traveler, tell him
That my youth wastes away…
If time goes on
Life too will go
And never shall we love again…

childhood and youth – vidyapati thakur

Childhood and youth are mingled both.
Her eyes have taken the road to her ears:
Wily are her words,and her low laugh
As if the moon appeared on earth.
She takes a mirror to array herself.
And asks:’what is thegame of love ,my dear?’
How many times she secretly regards her bosom,
Smiling to see her breasts!
First like a jujube,then like an orange,-
Love day by day enfolds her limbs:
O Madhava,I saw a girl surpassing fair,
Childhood and youth were one in her!
Saith Vidyapati:Oh foolish maid,
The wise would say,The twain have met.

brooding love – vidyapati thakur

Your moon-faced love
Had never guessed
That parting hurts.
Radha is tortured,
Dreading you will leave.
Love has robbed her of all power,
She sinks clasping the ground.

Kokilas call,
Startled, she wakes
Only to brood again.
Tears wash the make-up
From her breasts.
Her arms grow thin,
Her bracelets slide to the ground.
Radha’s head droops in grief.
Her fingers scar the earth
Bleeding your name.

river and sky – vidyapati thakur

Oh friend, I cannot tell you
Whether he was near or far, real or a dream.
Like a vine of lightning,
As I chained the dark one,
I felt a river flooding in my heart.
Like a shining moon,
I devoured that liquid face.
I felt stars shooting around me.
The sky fell with my dress,
leaving my ravished breasts.
I was rocking like the earth.
In my storming breath
I could hear my ankle-bells,
sounding like bees.
Drowned in the last waters of dissolution,
I knew that this was not the end.

sad love – vidyapati thakur

The moon spits fire,
Lotuses droop
And loaded with fragrance
Mingle in sad love.

Kokila, bird of spring,
Why do you torture?

Why do you sing
Your love-provoking song?

My lover is not here
And yet the god of love
Schemes on and on.
You do not know the meaning of ‘tomorrow.’

‘Tomorrow’ is my tomorrow
And water
Escapes the dam of youth.

You are in love,
So is your lover,
And your two banks
Are brimming with the flood.

My lover left and I would die
Than wait still longer
For his loved return.

The fragrance of flowers
Enters the city,
Bees sing,
The moon and night enchant,
Yet all are enemies.

twin hills – vidyapati thakur

Her hair dense as darkness,
Her face rich as the full moon:
Unbelievable contrasts
Couched in a seat of love.
Her eyes rival lotuses.
Seeing that girl today,
My eager heart
Is driven by desire.
Innocence and beauty
Adore her fair skin.
Her gold necklace
Is lightning.
On the twin hills,
Her breasts ….,

signs of youth – vidyapati thakur

Radha’s glances dart from side to side.
Her restless body and clothes are heavy with dust.
Her glistening smile shines again and again.
Shy, she raises her skirt to her lips.
Startled, she stirs and once again is calm,
As now she enters the ways of love.
Sometimes she gazes at her blossoming breasts
Hiding them quickly, then forgetting they are there.
Childhood and girlhood melt in one
And new and old are both forgotten.
Says Vidyapati: O Lord of life,
Do you not know the signs of youth?

poem – in damodar lake

In Damodar lake, near Girnar hill, Mehtaji frequently took bath.
Poor sweepers full of devotion for Hari approached him
And touched his feet with devotion.
`Great soul, pray come to our place, and singki rt ans with us! ‘, they prayed.
In Damodar lake, near Girnar hill, Mehtaji frequently took bath.
‘So what we too may attain the wealth called Bhakti
And escape the bewildering snares of life and death! ‘

They joined their hands and implored him.
In Damodar lake, near Girnar hill, Mehtaji frequently took bath.
Seeing them plead, Mehtaji, the kindest of all Vaishnavas,
Was overcome with compassion.
‘The love for lord and the bigotry hardly go together,
For all are equal in his eyes.
Purify the place and wait for me,” the generous Vaishnava replied.
In Damodar lake, near Girnar hill, Mehtaji frequently took bath.

Mehta came withpr as ad and spent the whole night celebrating.
In the morning, he sungbhaj ans
And all Vaishnavas’ hearts were full of contentment.
In Damodar lake, near Girnar hill, Mehtaji frequently took bath.
Singing Hari’s praises on cymbals and drums as he returned home,
TheNagar as mocked him, ‘Is this the way abrahmi n behaves? ‘
In Damodar lake, near Girnar hill, Mehtaji frequently took bath.

But Mehta kept silent, what can you say to unworthy people?
All the men and women of this caste woke up and derided him,
‘O what kind of person are you, O Mehta!
In Damodar lake, near Girnar hill, Mehtaji frequently took bath.

You care not for caste, you care not for creed, you care not for discrimination! ‘
Nevertheless, Narsaiyyo said humbly
‘O I have the support of the true Vaishnavas
In Damodar lake, near Girnar hill, Mehtaji frequently took bath.

poem – with absolute joy

With absolute joy, I sing thebr ahman!
But those encaptivated by theirk ar ma speak ill of me!
Even the great religious heads cannot fathom you,
They can’t even make out priceless jewels from mere beads!
With absolute joy, I sing thebr ahman!
But those encaptivated by theirk ar ma speak ill of me!

What is arcane even for the scriptures is pretty clear for the gopis,
Rare are the ones who can fathom this!
The beloved of Rama lusts not after women,
But these confounded mortals spread base lies!
With absolute joy, I sing thebr ahman!
But those encaptivated by theirk ar ma speak ill of me!

The perfect one is full of the perfect bliss, others worship elsewhere,
But Narsaiyyo sings the attributes of the absolute
And not carnal craving as the lustful think!
With absolute joy, I sing thebr ahman!
But those encaptivated by theirk ar ma speak ill of me!

poem – the cute little gokul

This cute little Gokul, my beloved has made it into Vaikunth!
He pampers his devotees here and gives unlimited joy to the Gopis!

He, who cannot be grasped by all the philosophies,
And never appears even before the greatest of sages,
Churns buttermilk at Nanda’s place
And grazes cows in the Vrindavan woods!
This cute little Gokul, my lord has made it into Vaikunth!

My beloved, the ultimate indestructible brahman,
serves here all on his own
And stands naked in front of the Gopis pleading for butter!
This cute little Gokul, my beloved has made it into Vaikunth!

Narsaiyya’s lord, who is beyond reach even of gods
And who even Lord Shanker serves,
Gives himself unto his devotees,
So that even the ultimate liberation becomes their maidservant!
This cute little Gokul, my beloved has made it into Vaikunth!

poem – true fulfilment of my birth

True fulfillment of my birth is in loving my beloved forever!
Never with dry rituals and harsh austerities
Would I torture my tender body!
All the time I’d play the games of love with my beloved!
True fulfillment of my birth is in loving my beloved forever!

When the final liberation waits on me like a menial servant,
Why should I worship someone else?
True fulfillment of my birth is in loving my beloved forever!

In all our births to come we will ever be your servants!
And the divinel eel a of Narsaiyya’s lord we will sing forever!
True fulfillment of my birth is in loving my beloved forever!

poem – the flute resonates today

The flute resonates today! The flute resonates today!
The women dance with the lord, dance, and sing as they play!
The flute resonates today!

The sound of clapping, the sound of drumming,
The harmony of the jingling anklets unbound!
Mohan is with the women, ravishing and proud,
Their ringing bells, and their melodious sound!
The flute resonates today!

Rapt, oblivious, and absorbed in each other as they happily play!
Says Narsaiyyo, unbound is the joy of the ras players,
As tumultuous love comes down in showers!
The flute resonates today! The flute resonates today!

poem – play raas with us love

Play raas with us love,
Play your sweet flute to us!’
‘More alluring is Vrindavan than Vaikunth, show it to us, love.
Play raas with us love,
Play your sweet flute to us!’

On the banks of Jamuna, Jadava plays his honeyed flute,
The gopis slip away, seduced by the sound,
Leaving their crying kids behind.
‘Play raas with us love,
Play your sweet flute to us!’

With corrylium in her eyes, she goes to fulfill her promise;
But she has dressed herself all wrong, with anklets in ears.
‘Play raas with us love,
Play your sweet flute to us!’

His enchanting face she lovingly eyes, takes his hands in hers,
She offers him everything she has!
‘Play raas with us love,
Play your sweet flute to us!’

Enchanting are the woods of Vrindavan in full autumnal moon.
Red, the color of passion decorates her limbs
The girl looks so enchantingly different!
‘Play raas with us love,
Play your sweet flute to us!’

One girl laughs, one claps and other excitedly sprinkles vermilion.
Where Radha and Madhav play raas it is pure joy unbound.
‘Play raas with us love,
Play your sweet flute to us!’

One who sings or hears this Radha Mohan Raas,
Will attain Vaikunth, the abode of bliss, says Narsinh, His servant
‘Play raas with us love!
Play your sweet flute to us!’

poem – always up to some prank

Always up to some prank, this mischievous little Govindji over there
It’s always I who has to suffer!
As this little cowherd foolishly totters, the girl becomes fervid!
Always up to some prank, this mischievous little Govindji over there
It’s always I who has to suffer!

‘Kum now yoo, vow eye doo’, if you can’t speak properly why do you babble like this?
Says Narsaiyyo, stop all these childish pranks, just take us to your place, and enjoy us!
Always up to some prank, this mischievous little Govindji over there
It’s always I who has to suffer!

poem – the princes

Gauntleted and jewel-girdled, now the warlike princes came,
With their stately bows and quivers, and their swords like wreaths of flame,

Each behind his elder stepping, good Yudhishthir first of all,
Each his wondrous skill displaying held the silent crowds in thrall.

And the men in admiration marked them with a joyful eye,
Or by sudden panic stricken stooped to let the arrow fly!

Mounted on their rapid coursers oft the princes proved their aim,
Racing, hit the target with arrows lettered with their royal name,

With their glinting sunlit weapons shone the youths sublime and high,
More than mortals seemed the princes, bright Gandharvas of the sky!

Shouts of joy the people uttered as by sudden impulse driven.
Mingled voice of tens of thousands struck the pealing vault of heaven.

Still the princes shook their weapons, drove the deep resounding car,
Or on steed or tusker mounted waged the glorious mimic war!

Mighty sword and ample buckler, ponderous mace the princes wield,
Brightly gleam their lightning rapiers as they range the listed field,

Brave and fearless is their action, and their movement quick and light
Skilled and true the thrust and parry of their weapons flaming bright!

poem – the suitors

‘Brave Duryodhan and his brothers, princes of the Kuruland,
Karna proud and peerless archer, sister! seek thy noble hand,

And Gandhara’s warlike princes, Bhoja’s monarch true and bold,
And the son of mighty Drona, all bedecked in gems and gold!

King and prince from Matsya kingdom grace this noble wedding feast,
Monarchs from more distant regions north and south and west and east,

Tamralipta and Kalinga on the eastern ocean wave,
Pattan’s port whose hardy children western ocean’s dangers brave!

From the distant land of Madra car-borne monarch Salya came,
Amd from Dwarka’s sea-girt regions Valadeva known to fame,

Valadeva and his brother Krishna sprung from Yadu’s race,
Of the Vrishni clan descended, soul of truth and righteous grace!

This is mighty Jayadratha come from Sindhu’s sounding shore,
Famed for warlike feats of valour, famed alike for sacred lore,

This is fair Kosala’s monarch whose bright deeds our heralds sing,
From the sturdy soil of Chedi, this is Chedi’s peerless king!

This is mighty Jarasandha, come from far Magadha’s land,
These are other princely suitors, sister! eager for thy hand,

All the wide earth’s warlike rulers seek to shoot the distant aim,
Princess, whoso hits the target, choose as thine that prince of fame!’

Decked with jewels, young and valiant, all aflame with soft desire,
Conscious of their worth and valour, all the suitors rose in ire,

Nobly born, of lofty presence, full of young unyielding pride,
Like the tuskers wild and lordly on Himalay’s wooded side!

Each his rival marks as foeman as in field of deadly strife,
Each regards the fair Draupadi as his own his queenly wife,

On the gorgeous field they gather by a maddening passion fired,
And they strive as strove the bright gods, when by Uma’s love inspired!

And the gods in cloud-borne chariots came to view the scene so fair,
Bright ADITYAS in their splendour, MARUTs in the moving air,

Winged Suparnas, scaly Yagas, saints celestial pure and high,
For their music famed, Gandharvas, fair Apsaras of the sky

Valadeva armed with ploughshare, Krishna chief of righteous fame.
With the other Yadu chieftains to that wondrous bridal came,

Krishna marked the sons of Panda eager for the maiden queen,
Like wild tuskers for a lotus, like the fire that lurks unseen,

And he knew the warlike brothers in their holy Brahman guise,
Pointed them to Valadeva, gazing with a glad surprise!

But the other chiefs and monarchs with their eyes upon the bride,
Marked nor knew the sons of Panda sitting speechless by their side,

And the long-armed sons of Panda smitten by KANDARPA’S dart,
Looked on her with longing languor and with love -impassioned heart!

Bright Immortals gaily crowding viewed the scene surpassing fair,
Heavenly blossoms soft descending with a perfume filled the air,

Bright celestial cars in concourse sailed upon the cloudless sky,
Drum and flute and harp and tabor sounded deep and sounded high!

Poem – the arghya

Outspake Bhishma to Yudhishthir: ‘Monarch of this wide domain,
Honour due to crowned monarchs doth our sacred law ordain,

Arghya to the wise Preceptor, to the Kinsman and to Priest,
To the Friend and to the Scholar, to the King as lord of feast,

Unto these is due the arghya, so our holy writs have said,
Therefore to these kings assembled be the highest honour paid,

Noble are these crownéd monarchs, radiant like the noonday sun,
To the noblest, first in virtue, be the foremost honour done!’

‘Who is noblest,’ quoth Yudhishthir, ‘in this galaxy of fame,
Who of chiefs and crownéd monarchs doth our foremost honour claim?’

Pond’ ring spake the ancient Bhishma in his accents deep and clear:
Greatest midst the great is Krishna! chief of men without a peer

Midst these monarchs pure in lustre, purest-hearted and most high
Like the radiant sun is Krishna midst the planets of the sky,

Sunless climes are warmed to verdure by the sun’s returning ray,
Windless wastes are waked to gladness when reviving breezes play,

Even so this rajasuya, this thy sacrificial rite,
Owes its sanctity and splendour unto Krishna’s holy might!’

Bhishma spake and Sahadeva served his mandate quick as thought,
And the arghya duly flavoured unto peerless Krishna brought,

Krishna trained in rules of virtue then the offered arghya took,
Darkened Sisupala’s forehead and his frame in tremor shook,

To Yudhishthir and to Bhishma turns the chief his flaming eyes,
To the great and honoured Krishna, Sisupala wrathful cries.

poem – ravan’s coming

Ravan watched the happy moment burning with a vengeful spite,
Came to sad and sorrowing Sita in the guise of anchorite,

Tufted hair and russet garment, sandals on his feet he wore.
And depending from his shoulders on a staff his vessel bore.

And he came to lonely Sita, for each warlike chief was gone,
As the darkness comes to evening lightless from the parted Sun,

And he cast his eyes on Sita, as a graha casts its shade
On the beauteous star Rohini when the bright Moon’s glories fade.

Quaking Nature knew the moment; silent stood the forest trees,
Conscious of a deed of darkness fell the fragrant forest breeze,

Godavari’s troubled waters trembled’ neath his lurid glance,
And his red eve’s fiery lustre sparkled in the wavelets’ dance!

Mute and still were forest creatures when in guise of anchorite,
Unto Sita’s lonely cottage pressed the Raksha in his might,

Mute and voiceless was the jungle as he cast on her his eye,
As across the star of Chitra, planet Sani walks the sky!

Ravan stood in hermit’s vestments,-vengeful purpose unrevealed,-
As a deep and darksome cavern is by grass and leaf concealed,

Ravan stood sedate and silent, and he gazed on Rama’s queen,
Ivory brow and lip of coral, sparkling teeth of pearly sheen!

Lighting up the lonely cottage, Sita sat in radiance high,
As the Moon with streaks of silver fills the lonely midnight sky,

Lighting up the gloomy woodlands with her eyes serenely fair,
With her bark-clad shape of beauty mantled by her raven hair!

Ravan fired by impure passion fixed on her his lustful eye,
And the light that lit his glances gave his holy texts the lie,

Ravan in his flattering accents, with a soft and soothing art,
Praised the woman’s peerless beauty to subdue the woman’s heart:

‘Beaming in thy golden beauty, robed in sylvan russet drew,
Wearing wreath of fragrant lotus like a nymph of wilderness,

Art thou Sri or radiant Gauri, maid of Fortune or of Fame,
Nymph of Love or sweet Fruition, what may be thy sacred name!

On thy lips of ruddy coral teeth of tender jasmine shine,
In thy eyes of limpid lustre dwclls a light of love divine,

Tall and slender, softly rounded, are thy limbs of beauty rare,
Like the swelling fruit of tala leaves thy bosom sweetly fair!

Smiling lips that tempt and ravish, lustre that thy dark eyes beam,
Crush my heart, as rolling waters crush the margin of the stream.

And thy wealth of waving tresses mantles o’er thy budding charms,
And thy waist of slender beauty courts a lover’s circling arms!

Goddess or Gandharva maiden wears no brighter form or face,
Woman seen by eyes of mortals owns not such transcendent grace.

Wherefore then, in lonesome forest, nymph or maiden, make thy stay,
Where the jungle creatures wander and the Rakshas hold their sway?

Royal balls and stately mansions were for thee a meeter home,
And thy steps should grace a palace, not in pathless forest roam,

Blossoms rich, not thorn of jungle, decorate a lady’s bower,
Silken robes, not sylvan garments, heighten Beauty’s potent power!

Lady of the sylvan forest! other destiny is thine,
As a bride beloved and courted in thy bridal garments shine,

Choose a loved and lordly suitor who shall wait on thee in pride,
Choose a hero worth thy beauty, be a monarch’s queenly bride!

Speak thy lineage, heaven-descended! who may be thy parents high,
Rudras or the radiant Maruts, Vassus leaders of the sky,

All unworthy is this forest for a nymph or heavenly maid,
Beast’s of prey infest the jungle, Rakshas haunt its gloomy shade,

Lions dwell in lovely caverns, tuskers ford the silent lake,
Monkeys sport on pendant branches, tigers steal beneath the brake,

Wherefore then this dismal forest doth thy fairy face adorn,
Who art thou and whence descended, nymph or maid or goddess-born?

poem – brother’s faithfulness

Tears bedewed the face of Lakshman as he heard what Sita, said,
And he touched the feet of Rama and in gentle accents prayed:

‘If my elder and his lady to the pathless forests wend,
Armed with bow and ample quiver Lakshman will on them attend,

Where the wild deer range the forest and the lordly tuskers roam,
And the bird of gorgeous plumage nestles in its jungle home,

Dearer far to me those woodlands where my elder Rama dwells,
Than the homes of bright Immortals where perennial bliss prevails!

Grant me then thy sweet permission,-faithful to thy glorious star,
Lakshman,shall not wait and tarry when his Rama wanders far,

Grant me then thyloving mandate,-Lakshman hath no wish to stay,
None shall bar the faithful younger when the elder leads the way!’

‘Ever true to deeds of virtue, duteous brother, faithful friend,
Dearer than his life to Rama, thou shall not to forests wend,

Who shall stay by Queen Kausalya, Lakshman, if we both depart,
Who shall stay by Queen Sumitra, she who nursed thee on her heart?

For the king our aged father, he who ruled the earth and main,
Is a captive to Kaikeyi, fettered by her silken chain,

Little help Kaikeyi renders to our mothers in her pride,
Little help can Bharat offer, standing by his mother’s side.

Thou alone can’st serve Kausalya when for distant woods I part,
When the memory of my exile rankles in her sorrowing heart,

Thou alone can’st serve Sumitra, soothe her sorrows with thy love,
Stay by them, my faithful Lakshman, and thy filial virtues prove,

Be this then they sacred duty, tend our mothers in their woe,
Little joy or consolation have they left on earth below!’

Spake the hero: ‘Fear no evil, well is Rama’s prowess known,
And to mighty Rama’s mother Bharat will obeisance own,

Nathless if the pride of empire sways him from the righteous path,
Blood will venge the offered insult and will quench our filial wrath!

But a thousand peopled hamlets Queen Kausalya’s hests obey,
And a thousand arméd champions own her high and queenly sway,

Aye, a thousand village-centres Queen Sumitra’s state maintain,
And a thousand swords like Lakshman’s guard her proud and prosperous reign!

All alone with gentle Sita thou shalt track thy darksome way,
Grant it, that thy faithful Lakshman shall protect her night and day,

Grant it, with his bow and quiver Lakshman shall the forests roam,
And his axe shall fell the jungle, and his hands shall rear the home!

Grant it, in the deepest woodlands he shall seek the forest fruit,
Berries dear to holy hermits and the sweet and luscious root,

And whenwith thy meek-eyed Sita thou shalt seek the mountain crest,
Grant it, Lakshman ever duteous watch and guard thy nightly rest!’

Words of brother’s deep devotion Rama heard with grateful heart,
And with Sita and with Lakshman for the woods prepared to part:

Part we then from loving kinsmen, arms and mighty weapons bring,
Bows of war which Lord VARUNA rendered to Videha’s king,

Coats of mail to sword impervious, quivers which can never fail,
And the rapiers bright as sunshine, golden-hilted, tempered wen,

Safely rest these goodly weapons in our great preceptor’s hall,
Seekand bring them, faithful brother, for me thinks we need them all!’

Rama spake; his valiant brother then the wondrous weapons brought,
Wreathed with fresh and fragrant garlands and with gold and jewels wrought,

‘Welcome, brother,’ uttered Rama, ‘stronger thus to woods we go,
Wealth and gold and useless treasure to the holy priests bestow,

To the son of saint Vasishtha, to each sage is honour due,
Then we leave our father’s mansions, to our father’s mandate true!’

poem – the fall of bali

Star-eyed Tara softly counselled pressing to her consort’s side,
Mighty Bali proudly answered with a warrior’s lofty pride:

‘Challenge of a humbled foeman and a younger’s haugty scorn
May not, shall not, tender Tara, by a king be meekly borne!

Bali turns not from encounter even with his dying breath,
Insult from a foe, unanswered, is a deeper stain than death,

And Sugriva’s quest for combat Bali never shall deny,
Though sustained by Rama’s forces and by Rama’s prowess high!

Free me from thy sweet embraces and amidst thy maids retire,
Woman’s love and soft devotion woman’s timid thoughts inspire,

Fear not, Tara, blood of brother Bali’s honour shall not stain,
I will quell his proud presumption, chase him from this realm again,

Free me from thy loving dalliance, midst thy damsels seek thy place,
Till I come a happy victor to my Tara’s fond embrace!’

Slow and sad with sweet obeisance Tara stopped around her lord,
Welling tear-drops choked her accents as she prayed in stifled word,

Slow and sad with swelling bosom Tara with her maids retired,
Bali issued proud and stately with the thought of vengeance fired!

Hissing like an angry cobra, city’s lofty gates he past,
And his proud and angry glances fiercely all around he cast,

Till he saw the bold Sugriva, gold-complexioned, red with ire,
Girded for the dubious combat, flaming like the forest fire!

Bali braced his warlike garments and his hand he lifted high,
Bold Sugriva raised his right arm with a proud and answering cry,

Bali’s eyes were red as copper and his chain was burnished gold,
To his brother bold Sugriva thus he spake in accents bold:

‘Mark this iron fist, intruder, fatal is its vengeful blow,
Crushed and smitten thou shalt perish and to nether world shalt go,’

‘Nay that fate awaits thee, Bali,’ spake Sugriva armed for strife,
‘When this right arm smites thy forehead, from thy bosom rends thy life!’

Closed the chiefs in fatal combat, each resistless in his pride,
And like running rills from mountains poured their limbs the purple tide,

Till Sugriva quick uprooting Sal tree from the jungle wood,
As the dark cloud hurls the lightning, hurled it where his brother stood,

Staggering ‘neath the blow terrific Bali reeled and almost fell,
As a proud ship overladen reels upon the ocean’s swell!

But with fiercer rage and fury Bali in his anguish rose,
And with mutual blows they battled,-brothers and relentless foes,

Like the sun and moon in conflict or like eagles in their fight,
Still they fought with cherished hatred and an unforgotten spite,

Till with mightier force and fury Bali did his younger quell,
Faint Sugriva fiercely struggling ‘neath his brother’s prowess fell!

Still the wrathful rivals wrestled with their bleeding arms and knees,
With their nails like claws of tigers and with riven rocks and trees,

And as INDRA battles Vritra in the tempest’s pealing roar,
Blood-stained Bali, red Sugriva, strove and struggled, fought and tore,

Till Sugriva faint and falt’ring fell like Vritra from the sky,
To his comrade and his helper turned his faint and pleading eye!

Ah! those soft and pleading glances smote the gentle Rama’s heart,
On his bow of ample stature Rama raised the fatal dart,

Like the fatal disc of YAMA was his proudly circled bow,
Like a snake of deadly poison flew his arrow swift and low,

Wingéd dwellers of the forest heard the twang with trembling few,
Echoing woods gave back the accent, lightly fled the startled deer,

And as INDRA’S flag is lowered when the Aswin winds prevail,
Lofty Bali pierced and bleeding by that fatal arrow fell!

poem – the sentence

Morning came and duteous Rama to the palace bent his way,
For to make his salutation and his due obeisance pay,

And he saw his aged father shorn of kingly pomp and pride,
And he saw the Queen Kaikeyi sitting by her consort’s side.

Duteously the righteous Rama touched the ancient monarch’s feet,
Touched the feet of Queen Kaikeyi with a son’s obeisance meet,

‘Rama!’ cried the feeble monarch, but the tear bedimmed his eye,
Sorrow choked his failing utterance and his bosom heaved a sigh,

Rama started in his terror at his father’s grief or wrath,
Like a traveller in the jungle crossed by serpent in his path!

Reft of sense appeared the monarch, crushed beneath a load of pain,
Heaving oft a sigh of sorrow as his heart would break in twain,

Like the ocean tempest-shaken, like the sun in eclipse pale,
Like a crushed repenting rishi when his truth and virtue fail!

Breathless mused the anxious Rama,-what foul action hath he done,
What strange anger fills his father, wherefore greets he not his son?

‘Speak, my mother,’ uttered Rama,’ what strange error on my part.
Unremembered sin or folly fills with grief my father’s heart,

Gracious unto me is father with a father’s boundless grace,
Wherefore clouds his altered visage, wherefore tears bedew his face?

Doth a piercing painful ailment rack his limbs with cruel smart,
Doth some secret silent anguish wring his tom and tortured heart,

Bharat lives with brave Satrughns, in thy father’s realms afar,
Hath some cloud of dark disaster crossed their bright auspicious star?

Duteously the royal consorts on the loving monarch wait,
Hath some woe or dire misfortune dimmed the lustre of their fate.

I would yield my life and fortune ere I wound my father’s heart,
Rath my unknown crime or folly caused his ancient bosom smart!

Ever dear is Queen Kaikeyi to her consort and her king,
Hath some angry accent escaped thee thus his royal heart to wring,

Speak, my ever-lovinging mother, speak the truth, for thou must know,
What distress or deep disaster pains his heart and clouds his brow?’

Mother’s love nor woman’s pity moved the deep-determined queen,
As in cold and cruel accents thus she spake her purpose keen:

‘Grief nor woe nor sudden ailment pains thy father loved of old,
But he fears to speak his purpose to his Rama true and bold,

And his loving accents falter some unloving wish to tell,
Till you give your princely promise, you Will serve his mandate well!

Listen more, in bygone seasons,-Rama thou wert then unborn,
I had saved thy royal father, he a gracious boon had sworn,

But his feeble heart repenting is by pride and passion stirred,
He would break his royal promise as a caitiff breaks his word,

Years have passed and now the monarch would his ancient word forego,
He would build a needless causeway when the waters ceased to flow!

Truth inspires each deed attempted and each word by monarchs spoke,
Not for thee, though loved and honoured, should a royal vow be broke,

If the true and righteous Rama binds him by his father’s vow,
I will tell thee of the anguish which obscures his royal brow,

If thy feeble bosom falter and thy halting purpose fail,
Unredeemed is royal promise and unspoken is my tale!

‘Speak thy word,’ exclaimed the hero, ‘and my purpose shall not fail,
Rama serves his father’s mandate and his bosom shall not quail,

Poisoned cup or death untimely,-what the cruel fates decree,
To his king and to his father Rama yields obedience free,

Speak my father’s royal promise, hold me by his promise tied,
Rama speaks and shall not palter, for his lips have never lied.’

Cold and clear Kaikeyi’s accents fell as falls the hunter’s knife,
‘Listen then to word of promise and redeem it with thy life,

Wounded erst by foes immortal, saved by Queen Kaikeyi’s care,
Two great boons your father plighted and his royal words were fair,

I have sought their due fulfilment,-brightly shines my Bharat’s star.
Bharat shall be Heir and Regent, Rama shall be banished far!

If thy father’s royal mandate thou wouldst list and honour still,
Fourteen years in Dandak’s forest live and wander at thy will,

Seven long years and seven, my Rama, thou shalt in the jungle dwell,
Bark of trees shall be thy raiment and thy home the hermit’s cell,

Over fair Kosala’s empire let my princely Bharat reign,
With his cars and steeds and tuskers, wealth and gold and arméd men!

Tender-hearted is the monarch, age and sorrow dim his eye,
And the anguish of a father checks his speech and purpose high,

For the love he bears thee, Rama, cruel vow he may not speak,
I have spoke his will and mandate, and thy true obedience seek.’

Calmly Rama heard the mandate, grief nor anger touched his heart,
Calmly from his father’s empire and his home prepared to part.

poem – the sacrifice

Years have passed; the lonely Rama in his joyless palace reigned,
And for righteous duty yearning, Aswa-medha rite ordained,

And a steed of darkest sable with the valiant Lakshman sent,
And with troops and faithful courtiers to Naimisha’s forest went.

Fair was far Naimisha’s forest by the limpid Gumti’s shom.
Monarchs came and warlike chieftains, Brahmans versed in sacred lore,

Bharat with each friend and kinsman served them with the choicest food,
Proud retainers by each chieftain and each crownéd monarch stood.

Palaces and stately mansions were for royal guests assigned,
Peaceful homes for learnéd Brahmans were with trees umbrageous lined,

Gifts were made unto the needy, cloth by skilful weavers wrought,
Ere the suppliants spake their wishes, ere they shaped their inmost thought!

Rice unto the helpless widow, to the orphan wealth and gold,
Gifts they gave to holy Brahmans, shelter to the weak and old,

Garments to the grateful people crowding by their monarch’s door,
Food and drink unto the hungry, home unto the orphan poor.

Ancient rishis had not witnessed feast like this in any land,
Bright Immortals in their bounty blest not with a kinder hand,

Through the year and circling seasons lasted Rama’s sacred feast,
And the untold wealth of Rama by his kindly gifts increased!

poem – sita lost

Morning dawned; and with Valmiki, Sita to the gathering came,
Banished wife and weeping mother, sorrow-stricken, suffering dame,

Pure in thought and deed, Valmiki gave his troth and plighted word,-
Faithful still the banished Sita, in her bosom held her lord!

Mighty Saint,’ so Rama answered as he bowed his humble head,
‘Listening world will hear thy mandate and the word that thou hast said,

Never in his bosom Rama questioned Sita’s faithful love,
And the God of Fire incarnate did her stainless virtue prove!

Pardon, if the voice of rumour drove me to a deed of shame,
Bowing to my people’s wishes I disowned my sinless dame,

Pardon, if to please my subjects I have bade my Sita, roam,
Tore her from my throne and empire, tore her from my heart and home!

In the dark and dreary forest was my Sita left to mourn,
In the lone and gloomy jungle were my royal children born,

Help me, Gods, to wipe this error and this deed of sinful pride,
May my Sita prove her virtue, be again my loving bride!’

Gods and Spirits, bright Immortals to that royal Yajna came,
Hen of every race and nation, kings and chiefs of righteous fame,

Softly through the halls of splendour cool and scented breezes blew,
Fragrance of celestial blossoms o’er the royal chambers flew.

Sita, saw the bright Celestials, monarchs gathered from afar,
Saw her royal lord and husband bright as heaven-ascending star,

Saw her sons as hermit-minstrels beaming with a radiance high,
Milk of love suffused her bosom, tear of sorrow filled her eye!

Rama’s queen and Janak’s daughter, will she stoop her cause to plead,
Witness of her truth and virtue can a loving woman need?

Oh! her woman~s heart is bursting, and her day on earth is done,
And she pressed her heaving bosom, slow and sadly thus begun:

‘If unstained in thought and action I have lived from day of birth,
Spare a daughter’s shame and anguish and receive her, Mother Earth!

If in duty and devotion I have laboured undefiled,
After Earth I who bore this woman, once again, receive thy child!

If in truth unto my husband I have proved a faithful wife,
Mother Earth I relieve thy Sita from the burden of this life!’

Then the earth was rent and parted, and a golden throne arose,
Held aloft by jewelled Nagas as the leaves enfold the rose,

And the Mother in embraces held her spotless sinless Child,
Saintly Janak’s saintly daughter, pure and true and undefiled,

Gods and men proclaim her virtue! But fair Sita is no more,
Lone is Rama’s loveless bosom and his days of bliss are o’er!

poem – the sandals

Tears nor sighs nor sad entreaty Rama’s changeless purpose shook,
Till. once more with hands conjoinéd Bharat to his elder spoke:

‘Rama, true to royal mercy, true to duties of thy race,
Grant this favour to thy mother, to thy brother grant this grace,

Vain were my unaided efforts to protect our father’s throne,
Town and hamlet, lord and tiller, turn to thee and thee alone!

Unto Rama, friends and kinsmen, chiefs and warriors, turn in pain,
And each city chief and elder, and each humble village swain,

Base thy empire strong, unshaken, on a loyal nation’s will,
With thy worth and with thy valour serve thy faithful people still!’

Rama raised the prostrate Bharat to his ever-loving breast,
And in voice of tuneful hansa thus his gentle speech addrest:

‘Trust me, Bharat, lofty virtue, strength and will to thee belong,
Thou could’st rule a worldwide empire in thy faith and purpose strong,

And our father’s ancient min’sters, ever faithful, wise and deep,
They shall help thee with their counsel and thy ancient frontiers keep.

List! the Moon may lose his lustre, Himalaya lose his snow,
Heaving Ocean pass his confines surging from the caves below,

But the truth-abiding Rama will not move from promise given,
He hath spoke and will not palter, help him righteous Gods in heaven!’

Blazing like the Sun in splendour, beauteous like the Lord of Night,
Rama vowed his Vow of Duty, changeless in his holy might!

‘Humble token,’ answered Bharat, ‘still I seek from Rama’s hand,
Token of his love and kindness, token of his high command,

From thy feet cast forth those sandals, they shall decorate the throne.
They shall nerve my heart to duty and shall safely guard thy own,

They shall to a loyal nation absent monarch’s will proclaim,
Watch the frontiers of the empire and the people’s homage claim!’

Rama gave the loosened sandals as his younger humbly prayed,
Bharat bowed to them in homage and his parting purpose said:

‘Not alone will banished Rama barks and matted tresses wear,
Fourteen years the crownéd Bharat will in hermit’s dress appear,

Henceforth Bharat dwells in palace guised as hermit of the wood,
In the sumptuous hall of feasting wild fruit is his only food,

Fourteen years shall pass in waiting, weary toil and penance dire
Then, if Rama comes not living, Bharat dies upon the pyre!’

navin kalpana karo – gopal singh nepali

निज राष्ट्र के शरीर के सिंगार के लिए
तुम कल्पना करो, नवीन कल्पना करो,
तुम कल्पना करो।

अब देश है स्वतंत्र, मेदिनी स्वतंत्र है
मधुमास है स्वतंत्र, चांदनी स्वतंत्र है
हर दीप है स्वतंत्र, रोशनी स्वतंत्र है
अब शक्ति की ज्वलंत दामिनी स्वतंत्र है

लेकर अनंत शक्तियाँ सद्य समृद्धि की-
तुम कामना करो, किशोर कामना करो,
तुम कल्पना करो।

तन की स्वतंत्रता चरित्र का निखार है
मन की स्वतंत्रता विचार की बहार है
घर की स्वतंत्रता समाज का सिंगार है
पर देश की स्वतंत्रता अमर पुकार है

टूटे कभी न तार यह अमर पुकार का-
तुम साधना करो, अनंत साधना करो,
तुम कल्पना करो।

हम थे अभी-अभी गुलाम, यह न भूलना
करना पड़ा हमें सलाम, यह न भूलना
रोते फिरे उमर तमाम, यह न भूलना
था फूट का मिला इनाम, वह न भूलना

बीती गुलामियाँ, न लौट आएँ फिर कभी
तुम भावना करो, स्वतंत्र भावना करो
तुम कल्पना करो।

sarita – gopal singh nepali

यह लघु सरिता का बहता जल
कितना शीतल¸ कितना निर्मल¸

हिमगिरि के हिम से निकल-निकल¸
यह विमल दूध-सा हिम का जल¸
कर-कर निनाद कल-कल¸ छल-छल
बहता आता नीचे पल पल

तन का चंचल मन का विह्वल।
यह लघु सरिता का बहता जल।।

निर्मल जल की यह तेज़ धार
करके कितनी श्रृंखला पार
बहती रहती है लगातार
गिरती उठती है बार बार

रखता है तन में उतना बल
यह लघु सरिता का बहता जल।।

एकांत प्रांत निर्जन निर्जन
यह वसुधा के हिमगिरि का वन
रहता मंजुल मुखरित क्षण क्षण
लगता जैसे नंदन कानन

करता है जंगल में मंगल
यह लघु सरित का बहता जल।।

ऊँचे शिखरों से उतर-उतर¸
गिर-गिर गिरि की चट्टानों पर¸
कंकड़-कंकड़ पैदल चलकर¸
दिन-भर¸ रजनी-भर¸ जीवन-भर¸

धोता वसुधा का अन्तस्तल।
यह लघु सरिता का बहता जल।।

मिलता है उसको जब पथ पर
पथ रोके खड़ा कठिन पत्थर
आकुल आतुर दुख से कातर
सिर पटक पटक कर रो रो कर

करता है कितना कोलाहल
यह लघु सरित का बहता जल।।

हिम के पत्थर वे पिघल-पिघल¸
बन गये धरा का वारि विमल¸
सुख पाता जिससे पथिक विकल¸
पी-पीकर अंजलि भर मृदु जल¸

नित जल कर भी कितना शीतल।
यह लघु सरिता का बहता जल।।

कितना कोमल¸ कितना वत्सल¸
रे! जननी का वह अन्तस्तल¸
जिसका यह शीतल करूणा जल¸
बहता रहता युग-युग अविरल¸

गंगा¸ यमुना¸ सरयू निर्मल
यह लघु सरिता का बहता जल।।

basant git – gopal singh nepali

ओ मृगनैनी, ओ पिक बैनी,
तेरे सामने बाँसुरिया झूठी है!
रग-रग में इतना रंग भरा,
कि रंगीन चुनरिया झूठी है!

मुख भी तेरा इतना गोरा,
बिना चाँद का है पूनम!
है दरस-परस इतना शीतल,
शरीर नहीं है शबनम!
अलकें-पलकें इतनी काली,
घनश्याम बदरिया झूठी है!

रग-रग में इतना रंग भरा,
कि रंगीन चुनरिया झूठी ह !
क्या होड़ करें चन्दा तेरी,
काली सूरत धब्बे वाली!
कहने को जग को भला-बुरा,
तू हँसती और लजाती!
मौसम सच्चा तू सच्ची है,
यह सकल बदरिया झूठी है!

रग-रग में इतना रंग भरा,
कि रंगीन चुनरिया झूठी है!

poem – mother’s blessing

Tears of sorrow and of suffering flowed from Queen Kausalya’s eye,
As she saw departing Sita for her blessings drawing nigh,

And she clasped the gentle Sits, and she kissed her moistened head,
And her tears like summer tempest choked the loving words she said:

‘Part we, dear devoted daughter, to thy husband ever true,
With a woman’s whole affection render love to husband’s due!

False are women loved and cherished, gentle in their speech and word,
When misfortune’s shadows gather, who are faithless to their lord,

Who through years of sunny splendour smile and pass the livelong day,
When misfortune’s darkness thickens, from their husband turn away,

Who with changeful fortune changing oft ignore the plighted word,
And forget a woman’s duty, woman’s faith to wedded lord,

Who to holy love inconstant from their wedded consort part,
Manly deed nor manly virtue wins the changeful woman’s heart!

But the true and righteous woman, loving, spouse and changeless wife,
Faithful to her lord and consort holds him dearer than her life,

Ever true and righteous Sita, follow still my godlike son,
Like a God to thee is Rama in the woods or on the throne!’

‘I shall do my duty, mother,’ said the wife with wifely pride,
‘Like a God to me is Rama, Sita shall not leave his side,

From the Moon will part his lustre ere I part from wedded lord,
Ere from faithful wife’s devotion falter in my deed or word,

For the stringless lute is silent, idle is the wheel-less car,
And no wife the loveless consort, inauspicious is her star!

Small the measure of affection which the sire and brother prove,
Measureless to wedded woman is her lord and husband’s love,

True to Law and true to Scriptures, true to woman’s plighted word,
Can I ever be, my mother, faithless, loveless to my lord?’

Tears of joy and mingled sorrow filled the Queen Kausalya’s eye,
As she marked the faithful Sita true in heart, in virtue high,

And she wept the tears of sadness when with sweet obeisance due,
Spake with hands in meekness folded Rama ever good and true:

‘Sorrow not, my loving mother, trust in virtue’s changeless beam,
Swift will fly the years of exile like a brief and transient dream,

Girt by faithful friends and forces, blest by righteous Gods above,
Thou shalt see thy son returning to thy bosom and thy love!

Unto all the royal ladies Rama his obeisance paid,
For his failings unremembered, blessings and forgiveness prayed,

And his words were soft and gentle, and they wept to see him go,
Like the piercing cry of curlew rose the piercing voice of woe,

And in halls where drum and tabor rose in joy and regal pride,
Voice of grief and lamentation sounded far and sounded wide!

Then the true and faithful Lakshman parted from each weeping dame,
And to sorrowing Queen Sumitra with his due obeisance came,

And he bowed to Queen Sumitra and his mother kissed his head,
Stilled her anguish-laden bosom and in trembling accents said:

Dear devoted duteous Lakshman, ever to thy elder true,
When thy elder wends to forest, forest-life to thee is due,

Thou hast served him true and faithful in his glory and his fame,
This is Law for true and righteous,–serve him in his woe and shame,

This is Law for race of Raghu known on earth for holy might,
Bounteous in their sacred duty, brave and warlike in the fight!

Therefore tend him as thy father, as thy mother tend his wife,
And to thee, like fair Ayodhya be thy humble forest life,

Go, my son, the voice of Duty bids my gallant Lakshman go,
Serve thy elder with devotion and with valour meet thy foe

poem – pre winter

“Delightful are trees and fields with the outgrowth of new tender-leaves and crops, Lodhra trees are with their blossomy flowers, crops of rice are completely ripened, but now lotuses are on their surcease by far, for the dewdrops are falling… hence, this is the time of pre-winter that drew nigh…

“The busts of flirtatious women that are graced by bosomy bosoms are bedaubed and reddened with the redness of heart-stealing saffrony skincare, called Kashmir kumkum, on which embellished are the white pendants that are in shine with the whiteness of whitish dewdrops, white jasmines, and whitely moon…

“Undecorated are the hiplines of kittenish women with gem-studded golden strings of girdle, nor their lotus like feet that have the brightness of lotuses with jingling anklets, whose jingling is correlative to the clucks of swans, for the cold touch of coldish metal gives cold quivers…

“Unbearable is the touch of metallic circlets on wrists and bicep-lets on upper-arms of the couple of arms of vivacious women, or the touch of new silk cloths on the discoid of their waistline, or fine fabric on their robust breasts…

“The womenfolk are rubbing fragrant wood-turmeric powder on their bodies, and their lotus-like faces are tattooed with erasable tattoos of foliage, and their head-hair is fumigated with the fumes of aloe vera resin, and they are doing all this for merrymaking in an enjoyable lovemaking…

“Thoughgood fortune is bechanced in the happiness of lovemaking, the women of age are with sallowish and whitened faces owing to the strain of lovemaking, and though they want to laugh heartily, they desist from it, noticing very painful lower lips that are bitten with the edges of teeth of their lovers in lovemaking, lest the lip is lengthened, the pain is sharpened…

“On reaching the valleys of bosomy busts of women of age, the winter breeze is attaining their coolant splendidness, but when those bosoms are pressingly hugged by their lovers it is incarcerated there with an unable pain, and that pain is expressed by the Hemanta season, as though it is bewailing for a release of that breeze at least at dawn time, with tear-like dewdrops clinging on to the spires of grass-blades…

“Overspread with abundant rice crops and ornamented with herds of she-deer, and delightfully reverberated by the ruddy geese, with their calls and counter-calls, the complacent corridors of confines are captivating hearts…

“Now the lakes are adorned with fully blossomed black-lotuses, and elaborated with swan-like waterfowls in their excitement, and sheeted with considerably coldish waters that are depurated, thus these lakes are stealing the hearts of men, for men look up to them as the visages of women that are with black-lotus-like hairdo, with swanlike eyes, and whose bodies are cold, wanting a warm hug…

“Oh, dear, the Priyangu plants that give fragrant seeds are ripened by the snow caused coldness, and they are frequently wobbled by the snowy winds, and they now appear like the fragrant and frisky women gone into paleness and wobbliness by their dissociation from their lovers…

“These days the mouths of people are fragranced with the fragrance of liquors made from the essential oils of flowers, and their bodies are fragrant with the same fragrancy by their puffs of suspires, and while lying on beds jointly with their bodies in tight embrace, they are slipping into sleep, entwined with the essence of passion…

“The young and beautiful ladies that are new to their adulthood have bruises and marks of teeth notches on their lips, and even their bosoms are incised with nails of their lovers, thus these marks and incisions clearly indicate that they have enjoyed lovemaking consummately…

“Some woman of age staying in the warmth of tender sun to warm up herself, is holding a mirror and applying cosmetics on her lotus-like face, and while doing so, she is pouting her lips and examining them that are dented with teeth bites of her lover, whose quintessence is guzzled down by her lover in last night…

“One more woman whose body is fatigued by the strain of excessive lovemaking, and who is quiet sleepless last night, and whose eyes are palish like white lotuses, and whose bun is slithered and plaits of head-hair are loosened and hair tousling on her shoulders, bust, and on her bosoms, is tripping into sleep, warmed up by the rays of tender sun…

“Bedraggled are the loose ends of cloudlike blackish head-hair onto the lofty busty bosoms of some other slender-bodied women of age, by which busty weight crouching are their bodies, as slim pearly pendants would crouch onto their bosoms, and they are taking away the circlets of flowers from their hairdos, as those flowers are already utilised and devoid of their heart-pleasing fragrance of yester night, and now they are grooming their hair, afresh…

“On examining her body that is completely enjoyed by her lover, another woman is highly gladdened, and she remade her pleasant lips resplendently with lip-colouring, and on examining her bust with nail scratches, she embarrassedly wore her bodice, and while doing so the pain of friction of bodice with nail-scratches made her eyes to twitch, on which eyes dangling are her dark, delicate, and twitchy hair-curls…

“By the exertion in their long-lasting games of lovemaking other women of age are wearied, and their slim bodies are thrilling at their flanks from bosoms to thighs, thereby those prettily pretty women are applying bodily oils and pastes to take an oil bath, that relieves these tingling sensations…

“Pleasant with many an attribute, stealer of the hearts of women, and at which time the confines of villages are overspread with many an abundant rice-crop on earth, and overlaid is the sky with the garlanded flights of ruddy gees, that which is always with a heart-stealing environ, such as it is, let this season Hemanta, pre-winter, endow comfort to all of you passionate people…

Poem – The Cloud Messenger – Part 01

A certain yaksha who had been negligent in the execution of his own duties,
on account of a curse from his master which was to be endured for a year and
which was onerous as it separated him from his beloved, made his residence
among the hermitages of Ramagiri, whose waters were blessed by the bathing
of the daughter of Janaka1 and whose shade trees grew in profusion.

That lover, separated from his beloved, whose gold armlet had slipped from
his bare forearm, having dwelt on that mountain for some months, on the first
day of the month of Asadha, saw a cloud embracing the summit, which
resembled a mature elephant playfully butting a bank.

Managing with difficulty to stand up in front of that cloud which was the
cause of the renewal of his enthusiasm, that attendant of the king of kings,
pondered while holding back his tears. Even the mind of a happy person is
excited at the sight of a cloud. How much more so, when the one who longs to
cling to his neck is far away?

As the month of Nabhas was close at hand, having as his goal the sustaining
of the life of his beloved and wishing to cause the tidings of his own welfare
to be carried by the cloud, the delighted being spoke kind words of welcome
to the cloud to which offerings of fresh kutaja flowers had been made.

Owing to his impatience, not considering the imcompatibility between a cloud
consisting of vapour, light, water and wind and the contents of his message
best delivered by a person of normal faculties, the yaksha made this request to
the cloud, for among sentient and non-sentient things, those afflicted by desire
are naturally miserable:

Without doubt, your path unimpeded, you will see your brother’s wife, intent
on counting the days, faithful and living on. The bond of hope generally
sustains the quickly sinking hearts of women who are alone, and which wilt
like flowers.

Just as the favourable wind drives you slowly onward, this cataka cuckoo,
your kinsman, calls sweetly on the left. Knowing the season for fertilisation,
cranes, like threaded garlands in the sky, lovely to the eye, will serve you.

Your steady passage observed by charming female siddhas who in trepidation
wonder ‘Has the summit been carried off the mountain by the wind?’, you
who are heading north, fly up into the sky from this place where the nicula
trees flourish, avoiding on the way the blows of the trunks of the elephants of
the four quarters of the sky.

This rainbow, resembling the intermingled sparkling of jewels, appears before
Mt Valmikagra, on account of which your dark body takes on a particular
loveliness, as did the body of Vishnu dressed as a cowherd with the peacock’s
feather of glistening lustre.

While being imbibed by the eyes of the country women who are ignorant of
the play of the eyebrows, who are tender in their affection, and who are
thinking ‘The result of the harvest depends on you’, having ascended to a
region whose fields are fragrant from recent ploughing, you should proceed a
little to the west. Your pace is swift. Go north once more.

Mt Amrakuta will carefully bear you upon its head—you whose showers
extinguished its forest fires and who are overcome by fatigue of the road.
Even a lowly being, remembering an earlier kind deed, does not turn its back
on a friend who has come for refuge; how much less, then, one so lofty?

When you, remembling a glossy braid of hair, have ascended its summit, the
mountain whose slopes are covered with forest mangoes, glowing with ripe
fruit, takes on the appearance of a breast of the earth, dark at the centre, the
rest pale, worthy to be beheld by a divine couple.

Having rested for a moment at a bower enjoyed by the forest-dwelling
women, then travelling more swiftly when your waters have been discharged,
the next stage thence is crossed. You will see the river Reva spread at the foot
of Mt Vandhya, made rough with rocks and resembling the pattern formed by
the broken wrinkles on the body of an elephant.

Your showers shed, having partaken of her waters that are scented with the
fragrant exudation of forest elephants and whose flow is impeded by thickets
of rose-apples, you should proceed. Filled with water, the wind will be unable
to lift you, O cloud, for all this is empty is light, while fullness results in

Seeing the yellow-brown nipa with their stamens half erect, eating the kankali
flowers whose first buds have appeared on every bank, and smelling the
highly fragrant scent of the forest earth, the deer will indicate the way to the

Watching the cataka cuckoos that are skilled in catching raindrops, and
watching the herons flying in skeins as they count them, the siddhas will hold
you in high regard at the moment of your thundering, having received the
trembling, agitated embraced of their beloved female companions!

I perceive in an instant, friend, your delays on mountain after mountain
scented with kakubha flowers—you who should desire to proceed for the sake
of my beloved. Welcomed by peacocks with teary eyes who have turned their
cries into words of welcome, you should somehow resolve to proceed at once.

Reaching their capital by the name of Vidisha, renowned in all quarters, and
having won at once complete satisfaction of your desires, you will drink the
sweet, rippling water from the Vetravati River which roars pleasantly at the
edge of her banks, rippling as if her face bore a frown.

There, for the sake of rest, your should occupy the mountain known as Nicaih
which seems to thrill at your touch with its full-blown kadamba flowers, and
whose grottoes make known the unbridled youthful deeds of the townsmen by
emitting the scent of intercourse with bought women.

After resting, move on while watering with fresh raindrops the clusters of
jasmine buds that grow in gardens on the banks of the forest rivers—you who
have made a momentary acquaintance with the flower-picking girls by lending
shade to their faces, the lotuses at whose ears are withered and broken as they
wipe away the perspiration from their cheeks.

Even though the route would be circuitous for one who, like you, is
northward-bound, do not turn your back on the love on the palace roofs in
Ujjayini. If you do not enjoy the eyes with flickering eyelids of the women
startled by bolts of lightning there, then you have been deceived!

On the way, after you have ascended to the Nirvandhya River, whose girdles
are flocks of birds calling on account of the turbulence of her waves, whose
gliding motion is rendered delightful with stumbling steps, and whose
exposed navel is her eddies, fill yourself with water, for amorous distraction
is a woman’s first expression of love for their beloved.

When you have passed that, you should duly adopt the means by which the
Sindhu River may cast off her emaciation—she whose waters have become
like a single braid of hair, whose complexion is made pale by the old leaves
falling from the trees on her banks, and who shows you goodwill because she
has been separated from you, O fortunate one.

Having reached Avanti where the village elders are well-versed in the legend
of Udayana, make your way to the aforementioned city of Vishala, filled with
splendour, like a beautiful piece of heaven carried there by means of the
remaining merit of gods who had fallen to earth when the fruits of the good
actions had nearly expired;

Where, at daybreak, the breeze from the Shipra River, carrying abroad the
sweet, clear, impassioned cries of the geese, fragrant from contact with the
scent of full-blown lotuses and pleasing to the body, carries off the lassitude
of the women after their love-play, like a lover making entreaties for further

And having see by the tens of millions the strings of pearls with shining gems
as their central stones, conches, pearl-shells, emeralds as green as fresh grass
with radiating brilliance and pieces of coral displayed in the market there, the
oceans appear to contain nothing but water;

And where the knowledgeable populace regale visiting relatives thus: ‘Here
the king of the Vatsa brought the precious daughter of Pradyota. Here was the
golden grove of tala-trees of that same monarch. Here, they say, roamed
Nalagiri (the elephant), having pulled out his tie-post in fury.’

Your bulk increased by the incense that is used for perfuming the hair that
issues from the lattices, and honoured with gifts of dance by the domestic
peacocks out of their love for their friend, lay aside the weariness of the
travel while admiring the splendour of its palaces which are scented with
flowers and marked by the hennaed feet of the lovely women.

Observed respectfully by divine retinues who are reminded of the colour of
their master’s throat, you should proceed to the holy abode of the lord of the
three worlds, husband of Chandi, whose gardens are caressed by the winds
from the Gandhavati River, scented with the pollen of the blue lotuses and
perfumed by the bath-oils used by young women who delight in water-play.

Even if you arrive at Mahakala at some other time, O cloud, you should wait
until the sun passes from the range of the eye. Playing the honourable role of
drum at the evening offering to Shiva, you will receive the full reward for
your deep thunder.

There, their girdles jingling to their footsteps, and their hands tired from the
pretty waving of fly-whisks whose handles are brilliant with the sparkle of
jewels, having received from you raindrops at the onset of the rainy season
that soothe the scratches made by fingernails, the courtesans cast you
lingering sidelong glances that resemble rows of honey-bees.

Then, settled above the forests whose trees are like uplifted arms, being round
in shape, producing an evening light, red as a fresh China-rose, at the start of
Shiva’s dance, remove his desire for a fresh elephant skin—you whose
devotion is beheld by Parvati, her agitation stilled and her gaze transfixed.

Reveal the ground with a bolt of lightning that shines like a streak of gold
on a touchstone to the young women in that vicinity going by night to the homes of
their lovers along the royal highroad which has been robbed of light by a
darkness that could be pricked with a needle. Withhold your showers of rain
and rumbling thunder: they would be frightened!

Passing that night above the roof-top of a certain house where pigeons sleep,
you, whose consort the lightning is tired by prolonged sport, should complete
the rest of your journey when the sun reappears. Indeed, those who have
promised to accomplish a task for a friend do not tarry.

At that time, the tears of the wronged wives are to be soothed away by their
husbands. Therefore abandon at once the path of the sun. He too has returned
to remove the tears of dew from the lotus-faces of the lilies. If you obstruct
his rays, he may become greatly incensed.

कविता – दिशा

हिमालय किधर है?
मैंने उस बच्‍चे से पूछा जो स्‍कूल के बाहर
पतंग उड़ा रहा था

उधर-उधर-उसने कहाँ
जिधर उसकी पतंग भागी जा रही थी

मैं स्‍वीकार करूँ
मैंने पहली बार जाना
हिमालय किधर है?

कविता – फसल

मैं उसे बरसों से जानता था-
एक अधेड़ किसान
थोड़ा थका
थोड़ा झुका हुआ
किसी बोझ से नहीं
सिर्फ़ धरती के उस सहज गुरुत्वाकर्षं से
जिसे वह इतना प्यार करता था
वह मानता था-
दुनिया में कुत्ते बिल्लियाँ सूअर
सबकी जगह है
इसलिए नफ़रत नहीं करता था वह
कीचड़ काई या मल से

भेड़ें उसे अच्छी लगती थीं
ऊन ज़रूरी है-वह मानता था
पर कहता था-उससे भी ज़्यादा ज़रूरी है
उनके थनों की गरमाहट
जिससे खेतों में ढेले
ज़िन्दा हो जाते हैं

उसकी एक छोटी-सी दुनिया थी
छोटे-छोटे सपनों
और ठीकरों से भरी हुई
उस दुनिया में पुरखे भी रहते थे
और वे भी जो अभी पैदा नहीं हुए
महुआ उसका मित्र था
आम उसका देवता
बाँस-बबूल थे स्वजन-परिजन
और हाँ, एक छोटी-सी सूखी
नदी भी थी उस दुनिया में-
जिसे देखकर- कभी-कभी उसका मन होता था
उसे उठाकर रख ले कंधे पर
और ले जाए गंगा तक-
ताकि दोनों को फिर से जोड़ दे
पर गंगा के बारे में सोचकर
हो जाता था निहत्था!

इधर पिछले कुछ सालों से
जब गोल-गोल आलू
मिट्टी फ़ोड़कर झाँकने लगते थे जड़ों से
या फसल पककर
हो जाती थी तैयार
तो न जाने क्यों वह- हो जाता था चुप
कई-कई दिनों तक
बस यहीं पहुँचकर अटक जाती थी उसकी गाड़ी
सूर्योदय और सूर्यास्त के
विशाल पहियोंवाली

पर कहते हैं-
उस दिन इतवार था
और उस दिन वह ख़ुश था
एक पड़ोसी के पास गया
और पूछ आया आलू का भाव-ताव
पत्नी से हँसते हुए पूछा-
पूजा में कैसा रहेगा सेंहुड़ का फूल?
गली में भूँकते हुए कुत्ते से कहा-
‘ख़ुश रह चितकबरा,
ख़ुश रह!’
और निकल गया बाहर

कहाँ जा रहा था वह-
अब मीडिया में इसी पर बहस है

उधर हुआ क्या
कि ज्यों ही वह पहुँचा मरखहिया मोड़
कहीं पीछे से एक भोंपू की आवाज़ आई
और कहते हैं- क्योंकि देखा किसी ने नहीं-
उसे कुचलती चली गई

अब यह हत्या थी
या आत्महत्या-इसे आप पर छोड़ता हूँ
वह तो अब सड़क के किनारे
चकवड़ घास की पत्तियों के बीच पड़ा था
और उसके होंठों में दबी थी
एक हल्की-सी मुस्कान!

उस दिन वह ख़ुश था।

poem – it is not love

(You say) It is not love, it is madness
My madness may be the cause of your fame
Sever not my relationship with you
If nothing then be my enemy
What is the meaning of notoriety in meeting me
If not in public court meet me alone
I am not my own enemy
So what if the stranger is in love with you
Whatever you are, it is due to your own being
If this not known then it is ignorance
Life though fleets like a lightening flash
Yet it is abundant Time to be in love
I do not want debate on the sustenance of love
Be it not love but another dilemma
Give something O biased One
At least the sanction to cry and plea
I will perpetuate the rituals
Even if cruelty be your habit
Teasing and cajoling the beloved cannot leave ‘Asad’
Even if there is no union and only the desire remains

poem – the soul’s prayer

In childhood’s pride I said to Thee:
‘O Thou, who mad’st me of Thy breath,
Speak, Master, and reveal to me
Thine inmost laws of life and death.

‘Give me to drink each joy and pain
Which Thine eternal hand can mete,
For my insatiate soul can drain
Earth’s utmost bitter, utmost sweet.

‘Spare me no bliss, no pang of strife,
Withhold no gift or grief I crave,
The intricate lore of love and life
And mystic knowledge of the grave.’

Lord, Thou didst answer stern and low:
‘Child, I will hearken to thy prayer,
And thy unconquered soul shall know
All passionate rapture and despair.

‘Thou shalt drink deep of joy and fame,
And love shall burn thee like a fire,
And pain shall cleanse thee like a flame,
To purge the dross from thy desire.

‘So shall thy chastened spirit yearn
To seek from its blind prayer release,
And spent and pardoned, sue to learn
The simple secret of My peace.

I, bending from my sevenfold height,
Will teach thee of My quickening grace,
Life is a prism of My light,
And Death the shadow of My face.’

poem – alabaster

LIKE this alabaster box whose art
Is frail as a cassia-flower, is my heart,
Carven with delicate dreams and wrought
With many a subtle and exquisite thought.

Therein I treasure the spice and scent
Of rich and passionate memories blent
Like odours of cinnamon, sandal and clove,
Of song and sorrow and life and love.

poem – in the forest

HERE, O my heart, let us burn the dear dreams that are dead,
Here in this wood let us fashion a funeral pyre
Of fallen white petals and leaves that are mellow and red,
Here let us burn them in noon’s flaming torches of fire.

We are weary, my heart, we are weary, so long we have borne
The heavy loved burden of dreams that are dead, let us rest,
Let us scatter their ashes away, for a while let us mourn;
We will rest, O my heart, till the shadows are gray in the west.

But soon we must rise, O my heart, we must wander again
Into the war of the world and the strife of the throng;
Let us rise, O my heart, let us gather the dreams that remain,
We will conquer the sorrow of life with the sorrow of song.

Poem – Gifts

Unto Brahmans gave Yudhishthir countless nishkas of bright gold,
Unto sage and saintly Vyasa all his realm and wealth untold,

But the bard and ancient rishi who the holy Vedas spake,
Rendered back the monarch’s present, earthly gift he might not take!

‘Thine is Kuru’s ancient empire, rule the nations of the earth,
Gods have destined thee as monarch from the moment of thy birth,

Gold and wealth and costly present let the priests and Brahmans hoard,
Be it thine to rule thy subjects as their father and their lord!

Krishna too in gentle accents to the doubting monarch said:
‘Vyasa. speaketh word of wisdom and his mandate be obeyed! ‘

From the rishi good Yudhishthir then received the Kuru-land,
With a threefold gift of riches gladdened all the priestly band,

Pious priests and grateful nations to their distant regions went,
And his share of presents Vyasa to the ancient Pritha sent.

Fame and virtue Kuru’s monarch by the aswa-medha wins,
And the rite of pure ablution cleanses all Yudhishthir’s sins,

And be stands amid his brothers, brightly beaming, pure and high,
Even as INDRA stands encircled by the dwellers of the sky,

And the concourse of the monarchs grace Yudhishthir’s regal might,
As the stars and radiant planets grace the stillness of the night!

Gems and jewels in his bounty, gold and garnients rich and rare,
Gave Yudhishthir to each monarch, slaves and damsels passing fair,

Loving gifts to dear relations gave the king of righteous fame,
And the grateful parting monarchs blessed Yudhishthir’s hallowed name.

Last of all with many tear-drops Krishna mounts his lofty car,
Faithful still in joy or sorrow, faithful still in peace or war,

Arjun’s comrade. Bhima’s helper, good Yudhishthir’s friend of yore,
Krishna leaves Hastina’s mansions for the sea-girt Dwarka’s shore!

Poem – Sacrifice of Animals

Victor of a hundred battles, Arjun came with conquering steed,
Vyasa herald of the Vedas bade the holy rite proceed:

‘For the day is come, Yudhishthir, let the sacrifice be done,
Let the priests repeat the mantra golden as the morning sun!

Threefold bounteous be thy presents and a threefold merit gain,
For thy wealth of gold is ample, be thy gifts like summer’s rain,

May the threefold rich performance purify the darkening stain,
Blood of warriors and of kinsmen slaughtered on the gory plain,

May the yajna’s pure ablution wash thee of the cruel sin,
And the meed of sacrificers may the good Yudhishthir win!

Vyasa spake; and good Yudhishthir took the diksha of the rite,
And commenced the aswa-medha gladdening every living wight,

Round the altar’s holy lustre moved the priests with sacred awe,
Swerved not from the rule of duty, failed not in the sacred law.

Done the rite of pure pravargya with the pious hymn and lay,
To the task of abhishava priests and Brahmans led the way,

And the holy Soma-drinkers pressed the sacred Soma plant,
And performed the pure savana with the solemn saman chant.

Bounty waits on squalid hunger, gifts dispel the suppliant’s fear,
Gold revives the poor and lowly, mercy wipes the mourner’s tear,

Tender care relieves the stricken by the gracious king’s command,
Charity with loving sweetness spreads her smile o’er all the land!

Day by day the aswa-medha doth with sacred rites proceed,
Day by day on royal bounty poor and grateful myriads feed,

And adept in six Vedangas, strict in vow and rich in lore,
Sage preceptors, holy teachers, grew in virtue ever more!

Six good stakes of vilwa timber, six of hard khadira wood,
Six of seasoned sarvavarnin, on the place of yajna stood,

Two were made of devadaru, pine that on Himalay grows,
One was made of wood of slesha, which the sacrificer knows,

Other stakes of golden lustre quaint with curious carving done,
Draped in silk and gold-brocaded like the constellations shone!

And the consecrated altar built and raised of bricks of gold,
Shone in splendour like the altar Daksha built in days of old,

Eighteen cubits square the structure, four deep layers of brick in height,
With a spacious winged triangle like an eagle in its flight!

Beasts whose flesh is pure and wholesome, dwellers of the lake or sky,
Priests assigned each varied offering to each heavenly power on high,

Bulls of various breed and colour, steeds of mettle true and tried,
Other creatures, full three hundred, to the many stakes were tied.

Deva-rishis viewed the feasting, sweet Gandharvas woke the song,
Apsaras like gleams of sunlight on the greensward tripped along,

Kinnaras and Kim-purushas mingled in the holy rite,
Siddhas of austerest penance stood around the sacred site,

Vyasa’s great and gifted pupils who the holy hymns compiled,
Helped the royal aswa-medha, on the royal yajna smiled!

From the bright ethereal mansions heavenly minstrel Narad came,
Chitra-sena woke the music, singer of celestial fame,

Cheered by more than mortal music priests their holy task begun,
And Yudhishthir’s fame and virtue with a brighter lustre shone!

Poem – Trial of Skill

Uprose one by one the suitors, marking still the distant aim,
Alighty monarchs, gallant princes, chiefs of proud and warlike fame,

Decked in golden crown and necklace, and inflamed by pride and love,
Stoutly strove the eager suitors viewing well the target above,

Strove to string the weapon vainly, tough unbending was the bow,
Slightly bent, rebounding quickly, laid the gallant princes low!

Strove the handsome suitors vainly, decked in gem and burnished gold,
Reft of diadem and necklace, fell each chief and warrior bold,

Reft of golden crown and garland, shamed and humbled in their pride,
Groaned the suitors in their anguish, sought no more Panchala’s bride!

Uprose Karna, peerless archer, proudest of the archers he,
And he went and strung the weapon, fixed the arrows gallantly,

Stood like SURYA in his splendour and like AGNI in his flame,-
Pandu’s sons in terror whispered, Karna sure must hit the aim!

But in proud and queenly accents Drupad’s queenly daughter said:
‘Monarch’s daughter, born a Kshatra, Suta’s son I will not wed,’

Karna heard with crimsoned forehead, left the emprise almost done,
Left the bow already circled, silent gazed upon the Sun!

Uprose Chedi’s haughty monarch, mightiest of the monarchs he,
Other kings had failed inglorious, Sisupala stood forth free,

Firm in heart and fixed in purpose, bent the tough unbending bow,
Vainly! for the bow rebounding laid the haughty monarch low!

Uprose sturdy Jarasandha, far Magadha’s mighty chief,
Held the bow and stood undaunted, tall and stately as a cliff,

But once more the bow rebounded, fell the monarch in his shame,
Left in haste Panchala’s mansions for the region whence he came!

Uprose Salya, king of Madra, with his wondrous skill and might,
Faltering, on his knees descending, fell in sad inglorious plight,

Thus each monarch fell and faltered, merry whispers went around,
And the sound of stifled laughter circled round the festive ground!

Poem – The Bride

Sound the drum and voice the sankha! Brightly dawns; the bridal day,
Fresh from morning s pure ablutions comes the bride in garments gay,

And her golden bridal garland, carrying on her graceful arm.
Softly, sweetly, steps Draupadi, queen of every winning charm!

Then a Brahman versed in mantra, ancient priest of lunar race,
Lights the Fire, with pious offerings seek its blessings and its grace,

Whispered words of benediction saints and holy men repeat,
Conch and trumpet’s voice is silent, hushed the lofty war-drum’s beat.

And there reigns a solemn silence, and in stately pomp and pride,
Drupad’s son leads forth his sister, fair Panchala’ s beauteous bride!

In his loud and lofty accents like the distant thunder’s sound.
Drupad’s son his father’s wishes thus proclaims to all around:

‘Mark this bow, assembled monarchs, and the target hung an high,
Through yon whirling piercéd discus let five glist’ning arrows fly,

Whoso, barn of noble lineage, hits the far suspended aim,
Let him stand and as his guerdon Drupad’s beauteous maiden claim!’

Then he turns unto Draupadi, tells each prince and suitor’s name,
Tells his race and lofty lineage, and his warlike deeds of fame.

Poem – Good Bye

It is time to say good bye,
amidst small gathering and cry,
Soul to depart from body and fly,
No one knows where and why?

Always stayed among kith and kin
Struggled hard though not very keen
So much load on solder as it had always been
So many odds against but clear path seen

Kept all flocks under shed and together
Waging a struggle and not thought to bother
Continued to strive very hard and survived
Explored all possible means and revived

Lived life to the extent possible,
Made it easy though looked impossible,
Discharged obligations to the last end,
Sensed eternal signals which were send,

Many things were done and remained undone,
Received acclaim from friends as well done,
Considered life as meaningful and good mission,
No doubts ever occurred as matter of question

Will my work remain not to be in time finished?
Chances are not bright and seems to be diminished
though life remained fulfilled and has no regret,
it’s time to sleep peacefully and rest to forget,

Will my living not be exemplary and remembered?
Ideas may soon be forgotten and pushed in corner
This may take place or happen later or sooner,
It is a lesson for the learner or beginner

I may have not lived up to the expectations,
May have many emissions and omissions,
Might have not yielded to the submissions,
But always have resisted the temptations

Ambition and desire may remain always a concern
Attempt to disassociate will be a lesson to learn
Sun always shined and brought ray of hope,
Descending was easy even in high slopes

it gives enough joy And contentment
Life seems to be a mission for fulfillment
Might have faced rough weather sometimes
Everybody in life faces good or bad times

Eyes are filled with joy and unhappiness
When you became familiar with closeness
It was happy union but soon to come to an end
You had to leave everybody including friends

It is not easy to forget log association
Either in service, circle or with family
Sometimes we might have acted silly
But it would have been atmosphere homely

It is tearful and sad departure
You may feel end in near future
It is simple law of nature
Just get top of it and be sure

Final journey to bid farewell and bye,
Not enough time to say even lie,
Permanent position to find and go,
Leaving behind memories and forgo

Poem – Dark Horse

I I have proved and stayed as dark horse
Nobody would come to know without code Morse
People disregard me and pass the curse
Always non starter and unavailable force

I have earned disrepute and considered as unreliable
Still try to garner support and prove capable
Never waste a time for second or minute
Keep watch on all and observe it minutely

Play game safe and advance self interest
Try to extract more and achieve the best
Everything at command without passing test
Achievement of the goal without any rest

All for self betterment and not for social cause
No let up in work and continue without pause
This all becomes necessary in changing world
I know naked truth then why people turn cold?

This is selfish world and you should stay supreme
Play safe and never go to the end extreme
I may prove incompetence if not seize the opportunity
Life comes to a halt if not keep continuity,

People have a soft corner and very short memory
Go for bright glitter and never feel sorry
Worship rising sun and look not at sunset
Life should be at height and ambition preset

All eyes are on achievement and conceding defeat
Success story should emerge even making repeat
People fall in line and not mind treachery
Offer all the help even they feel jittery

Neither I am claiming nor proving hollow
System so prevalent I piously follow
Not offer chance or slight mistake to allow
People know better what is lying below

I want to achieve and rise above average
Glory and name should have wide coverage
All might say what is there in name
It doesn’t follow without playing game

I continuously strive after hard bargain
Doesn’t matter more whether loss or gain
Nothing comes in life without taking pain
Simple truth should be followed as it is plain

Poem – Marriage

Age old saying about marriage,
Sacred bonding and not carriage,
It is not freedom from cage,
Necessarily arising with completion of age,

No one thought of its sanity,
What are marriage and its utility?
Does that stand for population continuity?
Permanent bond and relation in amity,

New relations with two families union,
End of sour relation and exit form oblivion,
Finding perfect match as true companion,
With gala dance and lavish dishes in pavilion,

So long confined within limits, can be perfect,
Enhancing prestige and image with great impact,
Adding to civility with understanding and respect,
Surely it is an arrangement and not a pact,

Lavish spending is not necessarily,
Simple marriage with blessings happily,
Out of reach expenditure will be simply silly,
Not a wise steps but committing folly,

Parent may suffer on account of marriage,
Colossal waste of money can’t manage,
Adding to worry with heavy burden,
Pressure may be high to tackle it sudden,

With over of ceremony no more worry,
Calm all over and nothing to hurry,
Simple way of parting beloved one,
Sharing of joy but pain by none

Poem – Dead Nights

Dark clouds run to cover sun’s face,
With sparkling lights to join the race,
Descending on earth with malign intent,
Fear, destruction all with dreaded content,

Pin dropp silence in midst of night,
Not a ray of hope or slight light,
Little scuffle or fierce fight,
All noticed with powerful sight,

Dead night represent people pessimist,
No hope of revival as done by optimist,
Passim is t wait for ship to be sunk,
Optimist tries to drag even if drunk,

One remains always awake
Even nothing is at stake,
Person with controlled wishes,
Even water is disturbed with movement of fishes,

Holy soul departs at mid night,
Path is set with precision and right,
Evil doer’s absence may not be missed,
Good and light will always be noticed,

Nights represent bleak future and gloom,
Even flowers feel shame and not boom,
All wrong doings done at night,
People may thin it is path right,

Night is not all that bad,
Proper time to remain calm and sad,
All energy to cool and find some rest,
Preparation for next day’s fight for best,

Poem – Humble project

You are no exception
It is relation
That makes high with elevation
It is family tradition

More you grow
Less you show
As females are always exemplary
And we need to make them no sorry

Still we are in primitive stage
And not acting as per an age
We still bring their pride down
And always keep eyes frown

Why not we realize?
And size
Their participation
In activities of nation

Give them full active part
And let us start
One humble project
Accept this fact

प्रतीक्षा – Harivansh Rai Bachchan

मधुर प्रतीक्षा ही जब इतनी, प्रिय तुम आते तब क्या होता?

मौन रात इस भांति कि जैसे, कोई गत वीण पर बज कर,
अभी-अभी सोई खोई-सी, सपनों में तारों पर सिर धर
और दिशाओं से प्रतिध्वनियाँ, जाग्रत सुधियों-सी आती हैं,
कान तुम्हारे तान कहीं से यदि सुन पाते, तब क्या होता?

तुमने कब दी बात रात के सूने में तुम आने वाले,
पर ऐसे ही वक्त प्राण मन, मेरे हो उठते मतवाले,
साँसें घूमघूम फिरफिर से, असमंजस के क्षण गिनती हैं,
मिलने की घड़ियाँ तुम निश्चित, यदि कर जाते तब क्या होता?

उत्सुकता की अकुलाहट में, मैंने पलक पाँवड़े डाले,
अम्बर तो मशहूर कि सब दिन, रहता अपने होश सम्हाले,
तारों की महफिल ने अपनी आँख बिछा दी किस आशा से,
मेरे मौन कुटी को आते तुम दिख जाते तब क्या होता?

बैठ कल्पना करता हूँ, पगचाप तुम्हारी मग से आती,
रगरग में चेतनता घुलकर, आँसू के कणसी झर जाती,
नमक डलीसा गल अपनापन, सागर में घुलमिलसा जाता,
अपनी बाँहों में भरकर प्रिय, कण्ठ लगाते तब क्या होता?

था तुम्हें मैंने रुलाया – Harivansh Rai Bachchan

हा, तुम्हारी मृदुल इच्छा!
हाय, मेरी कटु अनिच्छा!
था बहुत माँगा ना तुमने किन्तु वह भी दे ना पाया!
था तुम्हें मैंने रुलाया!

स्नेह का वह कण तरल था,
मधु न था, न सुधा-गरल था,
एक क्षण को भी, सरलते, क्यों समझ तुमको न पाया!
था तुम्हें मैंने रुलाया!

बूँद कल की आज सागर,
सोचता हूँ बैठ तट पर –
क्यों अभी तक डूब इसमें कर न अपना अंत पाया!
था तुम्हें मैंने रुलाया!

Yatra Aur Yatri – Harivansh Rai Bachchan

साँस चलती है तुझे

चलना पड़ेगा ही मुसाफिर!
चल रहा है तारकों का

दल गगन में गीत गाता

चल रहा आकाश भी है

शून्य में भ्रमता-भ्रमाता
पाँव के नीचे पड़ी

अचला नहीं, यह चंचला है
एक कण भी, एक क्षण भी

एक थल पर टिक न पाता
शक्तियाँ गति की तुझे

सब ओर से घेरे हुए है

स्थान से अपने तुझे

टलना पड़ेगा ही, मुसाफिर!
साँस चलती है तुझे

चलना पड़ेगा ही मुसाफिर!
थे जहाँ पर गर्त पैरों

को ज़माना ही पड़ा था

पत्थरों से पाँव के

छाले छिलाना ही पड़ा था
घास मखमल-सी जहाँ थी

मन गया था लोट सहसा
थी घनी छाया जहाँ पर

तन जुड़ाना ही पड़ा था
पग परीक्षा, पग प्रलोभन

ज़ोर-कमज़ोरी भरा तू

इस तरफ डटना उधर

ढलना पड़ेगा ही, मुसाफिर
साँस चलती है तुझे

चलना पड़ेगा ही मुसाफिर!
शूल कुछ ऐसे, पगो में

चेतना की स्फूर्ति भरते

तेज़ चलने को विवश

करते, हमेशा जबकि गड़ते
शुक्रिया उनका कि वे

पथ को रहे प्रेरक बनाए
किन्तु कुछ ऐसे कि रुकने

के लिए मजबूर करते
और जो उत्साह का

देते कलेजा चीर, ऐसे

कंटकों का दल तुझे

दलना पड़ेगा ही, मुसाफिर
साँस चलती है तुझे

चलना पड़ेगा ही मुसाफिर!
सूर्य ने हँसना भुलाया,

चंद्रमा ने मुस्कुराना

और भूली यामिनी भी

तारिकाओं को जगाना
एक झोंके ने बुझाया

हाथ का भी दीप लेकिन
मत बना इसको पथिक तू

बैठ जाने का बहाना
एक कोने में हृदय के

आग तेरे जग रही है,

देखने को मग तुझे

जलना पड़ेगा ही, मुसाफिर
साँस चलती है तुझे

चलना पड़ेगा ही मुसाफिर!
वह कठिन पथ और कब

उसकी मुसीबत भूलती है

साँस उसकी याद करके

भी अभी तक फूलती है
यह मनुज की वीरता है

या कि उसकी बेहयाई
साथ ही आशा सुखों का

स्वप्न लेकर झूलती है
सत्य सुधियाँ, झूठ शायद

स्वप्न, पर चलना अगर है

झूठ से सच को तुझे

छलना पड़ेगा ही, मुसाफिर
साँस चलती है तुझे

चलना पड़ेगा ही मुसाफिर! 

Poem – Bhima and Duryodhan

Bhima came and proud Duryodhan with their maces lifted high,
Like two cliffs with lofty turrets cleaving through the azure sky,

In their warlike arms accoutred with their girded loins they stood,
Like two untamed jungle tuskers in the deep and echoing wood!

And as tuskers range the forest, so they range the spacious field,
Right to left and back they wander and their ponderous maces wield,

Unto Kuru’s sightless monarch wise Vidura drew the scene,
Pritha proudly of the princes spake unto the Kuru queen.

While the stalwart Bhima battled with Duryodhan brave and strong,
Fierce in wrath, for one or other, shouted forth the maddened throng,

‘Hail to Kuru prince Duryodhan!’ ‘Hail to Bhima hero proud!’
Sounds like these from surging myriads rose in tumult deep and loud,

And with troubled vision Drona marked the heaving restless plain,
Marked the crowd by anger shaken, like the tempest-shaken main,

To his son he softly whispered quick the tumult to appease,
Part the armed and angry wrestlers, bid the deadly combat cease,

With their lifted clubs the princes slow retired on signal given,
Like the parting of the billows, mighty-heaving, tempest-driven!

Came forth then the ancient Drona on the open battle-ground,
Stopped the drum and lofty trumpet, spake in voice like thunder’s sound:

‘Bid him come, the gallant Arjun! pious prince and warrior skilled,
Arjun, born of mighty INDRA, and with VISHNU’S prowess filled.’

Poem – Conclusion

‘This is She the fair Immortal! Her no human mother bore,
Sprung from altar as Draupadi human shape for thee she wore,

By the Wielder of the Trident she was waked to form and life,
Bom in royal Drupad’s mansion, righteous man, to be thy wife,

These are bright aérial beings, went for thee to lower earth,
Borne by Drupad’s stainless daughter as thy children took their birth!

This is monarch Dhrita-rashtra who doth o’er Gandharvas reign,
This is peerless archer Karna, erst on earth by Arjun slain,

Like the Sun in ruddy splendour, for the Sun inspired his birth,
As the son of chariot-driver he was known upon the earth!

Mdst the Sadhyas and the Maruts, ‘midst Immortals pure and bright,
Seek thy friends the faithful Vrishnis matchless in their warlike might.

Seek and find the brave Satyaki who upheld thy cause so well,
Seek the Bhojas and Andhakas who in Kuru-kshetra fell!

This is gallant Abhimanyu whom the fair Subhadra bore,
Still unconquered in the battle, slain by fraud in yonder shore,

Abhimanyu son of Arjun, wielding Arjun’s peerless might,
With the Lord of Night he ranges, beauteous as the Lord of Night!

This, Yudhishthir, is thy father, by thy mother joined in heaven,
Oft he comes into my mansions in his flowery chariot driven.

This is Bhishma stainless warrior, by the Vasus is his place,
By the god of heavenly wisdom teacher Drona sits in grace!

These and other mighty warriors in the earthly battle slain,
By their valour and their virtue walk the bright ethereal plain,

They have cast their mortal bodies, crossed the radiant gate of heaven,
For to win celestial mansions unto mortals it is given,

Let them strive by kindly action, gentle speech, endurance long,
Brighter life and holier future into sons of men belong! ‘

Poem – Slay the Murderous Demons

Slay the murderous demons, 
Lust, Anger and Greed; 

Or, aiming their arrows at you, they will 

surely shoot you dead. 

Take care, feed them on self-restraint 

and discrimination of the Self; 

Thus starved these demons will become 

powerless and weak. 

Poem – Sit 

Sit, drink your coffee here; your work can wait awhile.
You’re twenty-six, and still have some life ahead.

No need for wit; just talk vacuities, and I’ll

Reciprocate in kind, or laugh at you instead.
The world is too opaque, distressing and profound.

This twenty minutes’ rendezvous will make my day:

To sit here in the sun, with grackles all around,

Staring with beady eyes, and you two feet away. 

Poem – Jawab E Shik 

Whatever comes out of the heart is effective
It has no wings but has the power of flight
It has holy origins, it aims at elegance

It rises from dust, but has access to the celestial world
My love was seditious, rebellious and clever

My fearless wailing rent through the sky
On hearing it the sun said, ‘Somewhere there is somebody! ‘

The planets said, ‘At the ‘Arsh-i-Bar 

Poem – Bachaey ki Duaa

lab pe aatii hai duaa banake tamannaa merii
zindagii shammaa kii surat ho Khudaayaa merii
duur duniyaa kaa mere dam a.Ndheraa no jaaye

har jagah mere chamakane se ujaalaa ho jaaye
ho mere dam se yuu.N hii mere watan kii ziinat

jis tarah phuul se hotii hai chaman kii ziinat
zindagii ho merii parawaane kii surat yaa rab

ilm kii shammaa se ho mujhako mohabbat yaa rab
ho meraa kaam Gariibo.n kii himaayat karanaa

dard-ma.ndo.n se zaiifo.n se mohabbat karanaa
mere allaah buraaii se bachaanaa mujhako

nek jo raah ho us raah pe chalaanaa mujhako 

Poem – The Cloud on The Mountain

Elevation bestows the sky’s nearness to my abode

I am the mountain’s cloud, my skirt sprinkles roses
Now the wilderness, now the rose garden is my abode

City and wilderness are mine, ocean is mine, forest is mine
If I want to return to some valley for the night

The mountain’s verdure is my carpet of velvet
Nature has taught me to be a pearl spreader

To chant the camel song for the camel of the Beloved of Mercy
To be the comforter of the dispirited farmer’s heart

To be the elegance of the assembly of the garden’s trees
I spread out over the face of the earth like the locks

I get arranged and adorned by the breeze’s
I tantalize the expecting eye from a distance

As I pass silently over some habitation
As I approach strolling towards a brook’s bank

I endow the brook with ear rings of whirlpools
I am the hope of the freshly grown field’s verdure

I am the ocean’s offspring, I am nourished by the sun
I gave ocean’s tumult to the mountain spring

I charmed the birds into thrilling chants
I pronounced ‘Rise’ standing by the verdure’s head

I conferred the taste for smile to the rose-bud
By my benevolence farmers’ huts on the mountain side

Are converted into bed chambers of the opulent. 

Poem – In The Bazaars of Hyderabad 

What do you sell O ye merchants ?

Richly your wares are displayed.

Turbans of crimson and silver,

Tunics of purple brocade,

Mirrors with panels of amber,

Daggers with handles of jade.
What do you weigh, O ye vendors?

Saffron and lentil and rice.

What do you grind, O ye maidens?

Sandalwood, henna, and spice.

What do you call , O ye pedlars?

Chessmen and ivory dice.
What do you make,O ye goldsmiths?

Wristlet and anklet and ring,

Bells for the feet of blue pigeons

Frail as a dragon-fly’s wing,

Girdles of gold for dancers,

Scabbards of gold for the king.
What do you cry,O ye fruitmen?

Citron, pomegranate, and plum.

What do you play ,O musicians?

Cithar, sarangi and drum.

what do you chant, O magicians?

Spells for aeons to come.
What do you weave, O ye flower-girls

With tassels of azure and red?

Crowns for the brow of a bridegroom,

Chaplets to garland his bed.

Sheets of white blossoms new-garnered

To perfume the sleep of the dead. 

Poem – Coromandel Fishers

Rise, brothers, rise; the wakening skies pray to the morning light, 
The wind lies asleep in the arms of the dawn like a child that has cried all night. 

Come, let us gather our nets from the shore and set our catamarans free, 

To capture the leaping wealth of the tide, for we are the kings of the sea! 
No longer delay, let us hasten away in the track of the sea gull’s call, 

The sea is our mother, the cloud is our brother, the waves are our comrades all. 

What though we toss at the fall of the sun where the hand of the sea-god drives? 

He who holds the storm by the hair, will hide in his breast our lives. 
Sweet is the shade of the cocoanut glade, and the scent of the mango grove, 

And sweet are the sands at the full o’ the moon with the sound of the voices we love; 

But sweeter, O brothers, the kiss of the spray and the dance of the wild foam’s glee; 

Row, brothers, row to the edge of the verge, where the low sky mates with the sea. 

Poem – Krishna Denying He Stole The Butter

O mother mine, I did not eat the butter

come dawn, with the herds,

you send me to the jungle,

o, mother mine, I did not eat the butter.

all day long with my flute in the jungles

at dusk do I return home.

but a child, younger than my friends

how could I reach up to the butter?

all the gopas are against me

on my face they wipe the butter,

you mother, are much too innocent,

you believe all their chatter.

there is a flaw in your behaviour,

you consider me not yours,

take you herd-stick and the blanket

I’ll dance to your tune no longer.

Surdas, Yasoda then laughed,

and took the boy in her arms,

mother mine I did not eat the butter. 

Basanta – Kedarnath Singh

और बसन्त फिर आ रहा है

शाकुन्तल का एक पन्ना

मेरी अलमारी से निकलकर

हवा में फरफरा रहा है

फरफरा रहा है कि मैं उठूँ

और आस-पास फैली हुई चीज़ों के कानों में

कह दूँ ‘ना’

एक दृढ़

और छोटी-सी ‘ना’

जो सारी आवाज़ों के विरुद्ध

मेरी छाती में सुरक्षित है
मैं उठता हूँ

दरवाज़े तक जाता हूँ

शहर को देखता हूँ

हिलाता हूँ हाथ

और ज़ोर से चिल्लाता हूँ –


मैं हैरान हूँ

मैंने कितने बरस गँवा दिये

पटरी से चलते हुए

और दुनिया से कहते हुए

हाँ हाँ हाँ… 

Poem – Corruption

शीश कटाते फौजी देखे, 

आँख दिखाता पाकिस्तान, 

भाव गिराता रुपया देखा, 
जान गँवाता हुआ किसान, 
बहनो की इज्ज़त लुटती देखीं, 

काम खोजता हर नौजवान, 

कोई तो मुझको यह बता दे..

यह कैसा भारत निर्माण..
अन्न गोदामो में सड़ते देखा, 
भूख से मरता हिंदुस्तान, 
घोटालो की सत्ता देखीं, 
लूटता हुआ यह हिंदुस्तान, 
आपस में लड़कर भाई-भाई, 

जा रहे है क्यों श्मशान, 

कोई तो मुझको यह बता दे..

यह कैसा भारत निर्माण..

पैसो के आगे बिकता देखा, 
हर इंन्सान का ईमान, 
ईमानदारी को कुचलते देखा, 
तनकर चलता बईमान, 
कदम कदम पर होते देखा, 

देश की गरीबो का अपमान, 

कोई तो मुझको यह बता दे..

यह कैसा भारत निर्माण…! ! ३! ! 

हिंसा को मैंने बढ़ते देखा, 
अहिंसा का होता कत्त्लेआम, 
गिरगिट का रंग बदलने जैसा, 
रूप बदलता हर इंसान, 

आपस में हमने लड़ते देखा, 
राम हो या हो रहमान, 
कोई तो मुझको यह बता दे..
यह कैसा भारत निर्माण…
यह कैसा भारत निर्माण….

Poem – Listen My Beautiful One

‘Listen, my beautiful one ‘, says Shri Hari, ‘I won’t ever leave your place!

There’s no girl like you at all with whose garland of flowers

Would I be tied!

‘Listen, my beautiful one!’ says Shri Hari, ‘I won’t ever leave your place!’

I am the lord with garland of creepers and you, a delicate flower vine,

I will water you with the nectar of my eyes,

With love will I enclose you and tend you

Holding you in my strong arms!

‘Listen, my beautiful one!’ says Shri Hari, ‘I won’t ever leave your place!

How lucky you are, my lovely one, and how fortunate! 

Is it because you have mastered some magic charm,

That I, who can untie the bonds of the fourteen worlds,

Am tied with your garland of flowers?

‘Listen my beautiful one,’ says Shri Hari, ‘I won’t ever leave your place!
I plead, proud one, please comply! 

Never ever will I leave your place, I swear!’ 

Narsaiyya’s Lord, brave and gallant

Passionately indulged in the battle of Love!

‘Listen my beautiful one, ‘ says Shri Hari, ‘I won’t ever leave your place!’ 

Poem – Essence of Essence is the Birth of the Weaker Sex

Essence of essence is the birth of the weaker sex,

For her strength alone can please the mighty hero!

What’s the use of this manliness, friend,

When it is of no use to the lord at all?

Essence of essence is the birth of the weaker sex!
A man might attain the ultimate release,

If he sticks to the path of virtue,

But to indulge in the scrumptious joys of pretended anger 

And the lord pleading to make up and other such games,

You simply have to be a woman!

Essence of essence is the birth of the weaker sex!

For her strength can please the mighty hero!
Even the gods like Indra and the great sages

Revere the very dust of gopis’ feet,

Considering themselves lesser than the gopis

As they find their manhood insipid!

Essence of essence the birth of the weaker sex,

For her strength can please the mighty hero!
Woman, the treasure trove of fortune

Experiences and enjoys all day and night

The very nectar, the Vedas and the Scriptures

Struggle to express!

Essence of essence is the birth of the weaker sex!
Let my dreams come true

My dark one, my lifter of the mountain, life of my life!

For just like the master dragging the meek beast

The leash of love draws Narsinh!

Essence of essence is the birth of the weaker sex,

For her strength can please the mighty hero! 

Poem – Enjoy This Girl And Celebrate The Night

Enjoy this girl and celebrate the night!

Why are you still fast asleep?

In no time will it dawn,

Soon you’ll be off into the woods

Yodeling with your cowherd friends!

Enjoy this girl and celebrate the night!
Inviting is the bed, nectarous is the girl,

Luscious are her breasts overflowing from her choli!

Though the girl is tender, her breasts are firm

They’ll jab you when you embrace!

Enjoy the girl and celebrate the night!

Why are you still fast asleep?
Though he is small, he is matchless in beauty,

Yet as mighty as an untamed lion is our lustful Lord!

O gem of a gallant is the Narsaiyya’s Lord,

In meeting him, the ravishing maiden attained the ultimate bliss.

Enjoy the girl and celebrate the night!

Why are you still fast asleep? 

Poem – Saints, We are the Traders of Rama’s Name

Saints, we are the traders of Rama’s name!

Merchants from distant villages come to us

Saints, we are the traders of Rama’s name!

Our goods happen to be modest and to everyone’s taste;

All castes come to us for purchase.

Saints, we are the traders of Rama’s name!
Unlimited are our assets;

Why should we deal merely in millions or billions?

It is pure musk, buy it if you want-its sure bargain!

Saints, we are the traders of Rama’s name!
To enter the name of Laxmi’s beloved in the ledger 

And jot down the name of Chaturbhuj in a chit – that’s Narsaiyya’s job!

Saints, we are the traders in Rama’s name! 

Poem – Pointless It Is To Lament

Pointless it is to lament,

For it’s always the wish of the lord of the universe,

The world teacher that prevails!

Never is it as we wish it to be.

One who knows this is finally saved.

Pointless it is to lament!
To think that one is the real doer of the deeds

Is sheer ignorance

Like that of a dog trotting under the cart

And thinking that he is carrying the burden!

Indeed whole cosmos is ordered like this

Only a handful of yogis and seers know something of this!

Pointless it is to lament!
One will never grieve

If this Knowledge is born in him

For by killing Ignorance, his real Foe,

He can have only friends!

Be it a prince or a pauper

His royal cover shelters all!

One foolishly worries what is in store for him,

Vines, leaves and fruits grow spontaneously and on their own!

Pointless it is to lament!
The mundane pleasures are mere delusions

Nothing but Krishna is true!

Says Narsaiyyo, I pray with all my heart,

That I would be able to love Hari

In all my births to come!

Pointless it is to lament

For always, it’s the wish of the lord of the universe

The world teacher that prevails! 

Poem – A Word

O there is a word

You are to come

And take me away.
O there is a bird

Who comes to me

To see me how I am

Preparing myself

To face the time.
No word no bird

See here only the desert.

You are calling me

When I am enjoying

The dust and the dirt.
O my dear, 

Please come 

You are welcome

Just for the sake of the sun

Just for the sake of mart

And let us have a chat. 

Poem – Within This Body 

Within this body

breathes the secret essence.

Within this body

beats the heart of the Vedas.
Within this body

shines the entire Universe,

so the saints say.
Hermits, ascetics, celibates —

all are lost

seeking Him

in endless guises.
Seers and sages perfectly parrot

the scriptures and holy books,

blinded by knowledge.
Their pilgrimage,

and fasting,

and striving

but delude.

Despite their perfect practice,

they discover no destination.
Only the saints

who know the body’s heart

have attained the Ultimate, O Tulsi.

Realize this, and you’ve found your freedom.
While teachers trapped in tradition

know only the mirage

in the mirror. 

Poem – Prayer 3

O Lord who is there besides You who will hear my cry?

Strange is my petition: a poor man, I, I seek to become a king…

From time immemorial I have suffered the tortures of hell and have lived through many low births, but I crave not for wealth or even salvation though I know that You can confer all these.

What I desire is to become in every birth a toy for You to play with or a stone to touch Your Feet.

Poem – Prayer 2

O Lord, let any one accept any sadhana, he is free to follow its pursuit.

But to me Your name is the granter of all boons.

Karma, upasana, jnana – the various paths outlined in the Vedas for the emancipation of the soul – all are good.

But I seek only one shelter and that is Your name; I seek nothing besides….

I have enjoyed the sweetness of Your name. It is the fulfiller of my wishes here and in the world to come…

A man may have his affection riveted anywhere as also his faith,

But I recognize my relationship with the Name – Rama; it is my father and mother.

I swear by Shankara and state the truth without hiding it,

That Tulsidas sees all good accruing to him only by repeating Your name.

Naye Kabi Ka Dukh – Kedarnath Singh

दुख हूँ मैं एक नये हिन्दी कवि काबाँधो

मुझे बाँधो

पर कहाँ बाँधोगे

किस लय, किस छन्द में?
ये छोटे छोटे घर

ये बौने दरवाजे

ताले ये इतने पुराने

और साँकल इतनी जर्जर

आसमान इतना जरा सा

और हवा इतनी कम कम

नफरतयह इतनी गुमसुम सी

और प्यार यह इतना अकेला

और गोल -मोल


मुझे बाँधो

पर कहाँ बाँधोगे

किस लय , किस छन्द में?
क्या जीवन इसी तरह बीतेगा

शब्दों से शब्दों तक


और जीने और जीने ‌‌और जीने के

लगातार द्वन्द में? 

Mukti – Kedarnath Singh

मुक्ति का जब कोई रास्ता नहीं मिलामैं लिखने बैठ गया हूँ
मैं लिखना चाहता हूँ ‘पेड़’

यह जानते हुए कि लिखना पेड़ हो जाना है

मैं लिखना चाहता हूँ ‘पानी’
‘आदमी’ ‘आदमी’ – मैं लिखना चाहता हूँ

एक बच्चे का हाथ

एक स्त्री का चेहरा

मैं पूरी ताकत के साथ

शब्दों को फेंकना चाहता हूँ आदमी की तरफ

यह जानते हुए कि आदमी का कुछ नहीं होगा

मैं भरी सड़क पर सुनना चाहता हूँ वह धमाका

जो शब्द और आदमी की टक्कर से पैदा होता है
यह जानते हुए कि लिखने से कुछ नहीं होगा

मैं लिखना चाहता हूँ।

Meri Bhasa Ke Log – Kedarnath Singh 

मेरी भाषा के लोग

मेरी सड़क के लोग हैं
सड़क के लोग सारी दुनिया के लोग
पिछली रात मैंने एक सपना देखा

कि दुनिया के सारे लोग

एक बस में बैठे हैं

और हिंदी बोल रहे हैं

फिर वह पीली-सी बस

हवा में गायब हो गई

और मेरे पास बच गई सिर्फ़ मेरी हिंदी

जो अंतिम सिक्के की तरह

हमेशा बच जाती है मेरे पास

हर मुश्किल में
कहती वह कुछ नहीं

पर बिना कहे भी जानती है मेरी जीभ

कि उसकी खाल पर चोटों के

कितने निशान हैं

कि आती नहीं नींद उसकी कई संज्ञाओं को

दुखते हैं अक्सर कई विशेषण
पर इन सबके बीच

असंख्य होठों पर

एक छोटी-सी खुशी से थरथराती रहती है यह !
तुम झांक आओ सारे सरकारी कार्यालय

पूछ लो मेज से

दीवारों से पूछ लो

छान डालो फ़ाइलों के ऊंचे-ऊंचे

मनहूस पहाड़

कहीं मिलेगा ही नहीं

इसका एक भी अक्षर

और यह नहीं जानती इसके लिए

अगर ईश्वर को नहीं

तो फिर किसे धन्यवाद दे !
मेरा अनुरोध है —

भरे चौराहे पर करबद्ध अनुरोध —

कि राज नहीं — भाषा

भाषा — भाषा — सिर्फ़ भाषा रहने दो

मेरी भाषा को ।

इसमें भरा है

पास-पड़ोस और दूर-दराज़ की

इतनी आवाजों का बूंद-बूंद अर्क

कि मैं जब भी इसे बोलता हूं

तो कहीं गहरे

अरबी तुर्की बांग्ला तेलुगु

यहां तक कि एक पत्ती के

हिलने की आवाज भी

सब बोलता हूं जरा-जरा

जब बोलता हूं हिंदी
पर जब भी बोलता हूं

यह लगता है —

पूरे व्याकरण में

एक कारक की बेचैनी हूं

एक तद्भव का दुख

तत्सम के पड़ोस में । 

Nadi – Kedarnath Singh 

अगर धीरे चलोवह तुम्हे छू लेगी

दौड़ो तो छूट जाएगी नदी

अगर ले लो साथ

वह चलती चली जाएगी कहीं भी

यहाँ तक- कि कबाड़ी की दुकान तक भी

छोड़ दो

तो वही अंधेरे में 

करोड़ों तारों की आँख बचाकर

वह चुपके से रच लेगी

एक समूची दुनिया

एक छोटे से घोंघे में
सच्चाई यह है

कि तुम कहीं भी रहो

तुम्हें वर्ष के सबसे कठिन दिनों में भी

प्यार करती है एक नदी

नदी जो इस समय नहीं है इस घर में

पर होगी ज़रूर कहीं न कहीं

किसी चटाई 

या फूलदान के नीचे

चुपचाप बहती हुई
कभी सुनना

जब सारा शहर सो जाए

तो किवाड़ों पर कान लगा

धीरे-धीरे सुनना

कहीं आसपास

एक मादा घड़ियाल की कराह की तरह

सुनाई देगी नदी!

The Dirt of Myfilthy Heart – Lalleshwari 

The dirt of my filthy heart 

Seemed to be cleansed, 

I found the known, unknown: and 

The dirt of my filthy heart 

Seemed to be cleansed, 

I found the known, unknown: and 

When I saw Him near me, 

I discovered When I saw Him near me, I discovered 

What is Worship ? Who are this Man – Lalleshwari 

What is worship? Who are this man

and this woman bringing flowers?

What kinds of flowers should be brought,

and what streamwater poured over the images?

Real worship is done by the mind

(Let that be a man) and by the desire

(Let that be a woman). And let those two

choose what to sacrifice.

There is a liquid that can be released

from under the mask of the face,

a nectar which when it rushes down

gives discipline and strength.

Let that be your sacred pouring,

Let your worship song be silence.
[Taken from Holy Fire: Nine Visionary Poets and the Quest for Enlightenment, Edited by Daniel Halpern] 

The Soul, Like the Moon – Lalleshwari 

The soul, like the moon,

is now, and always new again.

And I have seen the ocean

continuously creating.

Since I scoured my mind

and my body, I too, Lalla,

am new, each moment new.
My teacher told me one thing,

live in the soul.
When that was so,

I began to go naked,

and dance.

In Your Mother’s Womb You Vowed – Lalleshwari 

In your mother’s womb you vowed 

not to be born again.

When will you recall the vow ?

And die, even while alive 

(to all desire, and be released from birth and death): 

Great honor will be yours in this life and greater honor after death. 

No Hopes Comes My Way – Mirza Ghalib 

No hope comes my way

No visage shows itself to me

That death will come one day is definite

Then why does sleep evade me all night? 

I used to laugh at the state of my heart

Now no one thing brings a smile

Though I know the reward of religious devotion

My attention does not settle in that direction

It is for these reasons that I am quiet

If not, would I not converse with you? 
Why should I not remember you? 

Even if you cannot hear my lament
You don’t see the anguish in my heart

O healer, the scent of my pain eludes you
I am now at that point

That even I don’t know myself
I die in the hope of dying

Death arrives and then never arrives
How will you face Mecca, Ghalib

When shame doesn’t come to you 

Pain did not Become Grateful to Medicine – Mirza Ghalib

Pain did not become grateful to medicine

I didn’t get well; [but it] wasn’t bad either
Why are you gathering the Rivals? 

[It was just] a mere spectacle [that] took place, no complaint was made

Where would we go to test our fate/ destiny? 

When you yourself did not put your dagger to test 

How sweet are your lips, that the rival

[after] receiving abuse, did not lack pleasure

Recent/ hot news is that she is coming

Only today, in the house there was not a straw mat! 

Does the divinity belonged to Namrood’? 

[cause] in your servitude, my wellbeing did not happen
[God] gave life- the given [life] was His alone 

The truth is; that the responsibility was not fulfilled [by us]
If the wound was pressed, the blood did not stop 

[though] the task was halted, [but the bleeding still] set out
Is it highway robbery, or is it heart-theft? 

Having taken the heart, the heart-thief set out [to depart]

Recite something, for people are saying

Today “Ghalib” was not a ghazal-reciter 

The Dropp Dies In The River – Mirza Ghalib

The dropp dies in the riverof its joy

Pain goes so far it cures itself

In the spring after the heavy rain the cloud disappears

That was nothing but tears

In the spring the mirror turns green

holding a miracle

Change the shining wind

The rose led us to our eyes

Let whatever is be open.

The Moon Shines In My Body – Kabir 

The moon shines in my body, 

but my blind eyes cannot see it: 

The moon is within me, 

and so is the sun. 
The unstruck drum of Eternity is sounded within me; 

but my deaf ears cannot hear it. 
So long as man clamours for the ‘I’ and the ‘Mine’, 

his works are as naught: 

When all love of the ‘I’ and the ‘Mine’ is dead, 

then the work of the Lord is done. 
For work has no other aim than the getting of knowledge: 

When that comes, then work is put away. 
The flower blooms for the fruit: 

when the fruit comes, the flower withers. 

The musk is in the deer, 

but it seeks it not within itself: 

it wanders in quest of grass.

All You Who Sleep Tonight – Vikram Seth

All you who sleep tonight 

Far from the ones you love, 

No hand to left or right 

And emptiness above – 
Know that you aren’t alone 

The whole world shares your tears, 

Some for two nights or one, 

And some for all their years.

Do Not Go, My Love – Rabindranath Tagore

The Gardener XXXIV:

 Do not go, my love, without asking 

my leave. 

I have watched all night, and now 

my eyes are heavy with sleep. 

I fear lest I lose you when I’m 


Do not go, my love, without asking 

my leave. 

I start up and stretch my hands to 

touch you. I ask myself, “Is it a 


Could I but entangle your feet with 

my heart and hold them fast to my 


Do not go, my love, without asking 

my leave.

The Further Bank – Rabindranath Tagore

I long to go over there to the further bank of the river. 

Where those boats are tied to the bamboo poles in a line; 

Where men cross over in their boats in the morning with 

ploughs on their shoulders to till their far-away fields; 

Where the cowherds make their lowing cattle swim across to the 

riverside pasture; 

Whence they all come back home in the evening, leaving the 

jackals to howl in the island overgrown with weeds. 

Mother, if you don’t mind, I should like to become the boatman 

of the ferry when I am grown up. 

They say there are strange pools hidden behind that high bank. 

Where flocks of wild ducks come when the rains are over, and 

thick reeds grow round the margins where water-birds lay their 


Where snipes with their dancing tails stamp their tiny 

footprints upon the clean soft mud; 

Where in the evening the tall grasses crested with while

flowers invite the moonbeam to float upon their waves. 

Mother, if you don’t mind, I should like to become the boatman 

of the ferryboat when I am grown up. 

I shall cross and cross back from bank to bank, and all the 

boys and girls of the village will wonder at me while they are 


When the sun climbs the mid sky and morning wears on to noon, 

I shall come running to you, saying, “Mother, I am hungry.” 

When the day is done and the shadows cower under the trees, 

I shall come back in the dust. 

I shall never go away from you into the town to work like 


Mother, if you don’t mind, I should like to become the boatman 

of the ferryboat when I am grown up.

All You Who Sleep Tonight – Vikram Seth 

All you who sleep tonight 

Far from the ones you love, 

No hand to left or right 

And emptiness above – 
Know that you aren’t alone 

The whole world shares your tears, 

Some for two nights or one, 

And some for all their years.

A Style Of Loving – Vikram Seth

Light now restricts itself 

To the top half of trees; 

The angled sun 

Slants honey-coloured rays 

That lessen to the ground 

As we bike through 

The corridor of Palm Drive 

We two 
Have reached a safety the years 

Can claim to have created: 

Unconsumated, therefore 

Unjaded, unsated. 

Picnic, movie, ice-cream; 

Talk; to clear my head 

Hot buttered rum – coffee for you; 

And so not to bed 
And so we have set the question 

Aside, gently. 

Were we to become lovers 

Where would our best friends be? 

You do not wish, nor I 

To risk again 

This savoured light for noon’s 

High joy or pain.

poem – the wedding

Sage Vasishtha skilled in duty placed Videha’s honoured king,
Viswa-mitra, Sata-nanda, all within the sacred ring,

And he raised the holy altar as the ancient writs ordain,
Decked and graced with scented garlands grateful unto gods and men,

And he set the golden ladles, vases pierced by artists skilled,
Holy censers fresh and fragrant, cups with sacred honey filled,

Sanka bowls and shining salvers, arghya plates for honoured guest,
Parchéd rice arranged in dishes, corn unhusked that filled the rest,

And with careful hand Vasishtha grass around the altar flung,
Offered gift to lighted AGNI and the sacred mantra sung!

Softly came the sweet-eyed Sita,-bridal blush upon her brow,
Rama in his manly beauty came to take the sacred vow,

Janak placed his beauteous daughter facing Dasa-ratha’s soil,
Spake with father’s fond emotion and the holy rite was done:

‘This is Sita child of Janak, dearer unto him than life,
Henceforth sharer of thy virtue, be. she, prince, thy faithful wife,

Of thy weal and woe partaker, be she thine in every land,
Cherish her in joy and sorrow, clasp her hand within thy hand,

As the shadow to the substance, to her lord is faithful wife,
And my Sita best of women follows thee in death or life! ‘

Tears bedew his ancient bosom, gods and men his wishes share,
And he sprinkles holy water on the blest and wedded pair.

Next he turned to Sita’s sister, Urmila of beauty rare,
And to Lakshman young and valiant spake in accents soft and fair:

Lakshman, dauntless in thy duty, loved of men and Gods above,
Take my dear devoted daughter, Urmila of stainless love,

Lakshman, fearless in thy virtue, take thy true and faithful wife,
Clasp her hand within thy fingers, be she thine in death or life! ‘

To his brother’s child Mandavi, Janak turned with father’s love,
Yielded her to righteous Bharat, prayed for blessings from above:

‘Bharat, take the fair Mandavi, be she thine in death or life,
Clasp her hand within thy fingers as thy true and faithful wife! ‘

Last of all was Sruta-kriti, fair in form and fair in face,
And her gentle name was honoured for her acts of righteous grace,

‘Take her by the hand, Satrughna, be she thine in death or life,
As the shadow to the suistance, to her lord is faithful wife! ‘

Then the princes held the maidens, hand embraced in loving hand,
And Vasishtha spake the mantra, holiest priest in all the land,

And as ancient rite ordaineth, and as sacred laws require,
Stepped each bride and princely bridegroom round the altar’s lighted fire,

Round Videha’s ancient monarch, round the holy rishis all,
Ughtly stepped the gentle maidens, proudly stepped the princes tall!

And a rain of flowers descended from the sky serene and fair,
And a soft celestial music filled the fresh and fragrant air,

Bright Gandkarvas skilled in music waked the sweet celestial song
Fair Apsaras in their beauty on the greensward tripped along!

As the flowery rain descended and the music rose in pride,
Thrice around the lighted altar every bridegroom led his bride,

And the nuptial rites were ended, princes took their brides away,
Janak followed with his courtiers, and the town was proud and gay!

The Plums Tasted – Mirabai

sweet to the unlettered desert-tribe girl- 

but what manners! To chew into each! She was ungainly, 

low-caste, ill mannered and dirty, 

but the god took the 

fruit she’d been sucking. 

Why? She’d knew how to love. 

She might not distinquish 

splendor from filth 

but she’d tasted the nectar of passion. 

Might not know any Veda, 

but a chariot swept her away- 

now she frolics in heaven, esctatically bound 

to her god. 

The Lord of Fallen Fools, says Mira, 

will save anyone 

who can practice rapture like that- 

I myself in a previous birth 

was a cowherding girl 

at Gokul.


Poem – Marah Milan (Death Wedding) – Rabindranath Tagore

Why do you speak so softly, Death, Death, 

Creep upon me, watch me so stealthily? 

This is not how a lover should behave. 

When evening flowers droop upon their tired 

Stems, when cattle are brought in from the fields 

After a whole day’s grazing, you, Death, 

Death, approach me with such gentle steps, 

Settle yourself immovably by my side. 

I cannot understand the things you say. 
Alas, will this be how you will take me, Death, 

Death? Like a thief, laying heavy sleep 

On my eyes as you descend to my heart? 

Will you thus let your tread be a slow beat 

In my sleep-numbed blood, your jingling ankle-bells 

A drowsy rumble in my ear? Will you, Death, 

Death, wrap me, finally, in your cold 

Arms and carry me away while I dream? 

I do not know why you thus come and go. 
Tell me, is this the way you wed, Death, 

Death? Unceremonially, with no 

Weight of sacrament or blessing or prayer? 

Will you come with your massy tawny hair 

Unkempt, unbound into a bright coil-crown? 

Will no one bear your victory-flag before 

Or after, will no torches glow like red 

Eyes along the river, Death, Death? 

Will earth not quake in terror at your step? 
When fierce-eyed Siva came to take his bride, 

Remember all the pomp and trappings, Death, 

Death: the flapping tiger-skins he wore; 

His roaring bull; the serpents hissing round 

His hair; the bom-bom sound as he slapped his cheeks;

The necklace of skulls swinging round his neck; 

The sudden raucous music as he blew 

His horn to announce his coming – was this not 

A better way of wedding, Death, Death? 
And as that deathly wedding-party’s din 

Grew nearer, Death, Death, tears of joy 

Filled Gauri’s eyes and the garments at her breast 

Quivered; her left eye fluttered and her heart 

Pounded; her body quailed with thrilled delight 

And her mind ran away with itself, Death, Death; 

Her mother wailed and smote her head at the thought 

Of receiving so wild a groom; and in his mind 

Her father agreed calamity had struck. 
Why must you always come like a thief, Death, 

Death, always silently, at night’s end, 

Leaving only tears? Come to me festively, 

Make the whole night ring with your triumph, blow 

Your victory-conch, dress me in blood-red robes, 

Grasp me by the hand and sweep me away! 

Pay no heed to what others may think, Death, 

Death, for I shall of my own free will 

Resort to you if you but take me gloriously. 
If I am immersed in work in my room 

When you arrive, Death, Death, then break 

My work, thrust my unreadiness aside. 

If I am sleeping, sinking all desires 

In the dreamy pleasure of my bed, or I lie 

With apathy gripping my heart and my eyes 

Flickering between sleep and waking, fill 

Your conch with your destructive breath and blow, 

Death, Death, and I shall run to you. 
I shall go to where your boat is moored, 

Death, Death, to the sea where the wind rolls 

Darkness towards me from infinity. 

I may see black clouds massing in the far 

North-east corner of the sky; fiery snakes 

Of lightning may rear up with their hoods raised, 

But I shall not flinch in unfounded fear – 

I shall pass silently, unswervingly 

Across that red storm-sea, Death, Death.

Poem – Friend, Hope For The Guest While You Are Alive – Kabir

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive. 

Jump into experience while you are alive! 

Think… and think… while you are alive. 

What you call ‘salvation’ belongs to the time 

before death. 
If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive, 

do you think 

ghosts will do it after? 
The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic 

just because the body is rotten— 

that is all fantasy. 

What is found now is found then. 

If you find nothing now, 

you will simply end up with an apartment 

in the City of Death. 

If you make love with the divine now, in the next life 

you will have the face of satisfied desire. 
So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is, 

believe in the Great Sound! 
Kabir says this: When the Guest is being search for, 

it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest 

that does all the work. 

Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

Poem – Tell Me, O Swan, Your Ancient Tale – Kabir

Tell me, O Swan, your ancient tale. 

From what land do you come, 

O Swan? to what shore will you fly? 

Where would you take your rest, 

O Swan, and what do you seek? 
Even this morning, O Swan, awake, arise, follow me! 

There is a land where no doubt nor sorrow have rule: 

where the terror of Death is no more. 

There the woods of spring are a-bloom, 

and the fragrant scent ‘He is I’ is borne on the wind: 

There the bee of the heart is deeply immersed, 

and desires no other joy.

Poem – The Swan Flies Away – Kabir 

The Swan Will Fly Away All Alone, 
Spectacle of the World Will Be a Mere Fair 

As the Leaf Falls from the Tree 

Is Difficult to Find 

Who Knows Where it Will Fall 

Once it is Struck with a Gust Of Wind 

When Life Span is Complete 

Then Listening to Orders, Following Others, Will Be Over 

The Messengers of Yama are Very Strong 

It’s an Entanglement with the Yama 

Servant Kabir Praises the Attributes of the Lord 

He Finds the Lord Soon 

Guru Will Go According to His Doings 

The Disciple According to His!

Poem – Brother I’ve seen Some – Kabir

Brother, I’ve seen some 
Astonishing sights: 

A lion keeping watch 

Over pasturing cows; 

A mother delivered 

After her son was; 

A guru prostrated 

Before his disciple; 

Fish spawning 

On treetops; 

A cat carrying away 

A dog; 

A gunny-sack 

Driving a bullock-cart; 

A buffalo going out to graze, 

Sitting on a horse; 

A tree with its branches in the earth, 

Its roots in the sky; 

A tree with flowering roots. 
This verse, says Kabir, 

Is your key to the universe. 

If you can figure it out.

Poem – Chewing Slowly – Kabir 

Chewing slowly, 

Only after I’d eaten

My grandmother, 



Two brothers-in-law, 

And father-in-law 

(His big family included) 

In that order, 

And had for dessert 

The town’s inhabitants, 

Did I find, says Kabir, 

The beloved that I’ve become 

One with.

Poem – Come to my Pavilion – Mirabai 

Mirabai 1498 - 1546  Kudki , India

1498 – 1546
Kudki , India

Come to my pavilion, O my King. 

I have spread a bedmade of 

delicately selected buds and blossoms, 

And have arrayed myself in bridal garb 

From head to toe. 

I have been Thy slave during many births, 

Thou art the be-all of my existence. 

Mira’s Lord is Hari, the Indestructible. 

Come, grant me Thy sight at once.

Poem – A Limb Just  Moved – Mirabai

You taught Your songs to the birds first, 

why was that? 

And You practised Your love in the hearts of animals 

before You created man, 

I know the planets talk at night 

and tell secrets 



A limb just moved before me, 

the beauty of this world 

is causing me to 


Poem – A Great Yogi – Mirabai 

In my travels I spent time with a great yogi. Once he said to me. 

“Become so still you hear the blood flowing 

through your veins.” 

One night as I sat in quiet, 

I seemed on the verge of entering a world inside so vast 

I know it is the source of 

all of 


Poem – A Cowherding Girl – Mirabai

The plums tasted 

sweet to the unlettered desert-tribe girl- 

but what manners! To chew into each! She 

was ungainly, 

low-caste, ill mannered and dirty, 

but the god took the 

fruit she’d been sucking. 

Why? She’d knew how to love. 

She might not distinquish 

splendor from filth 

but she’d tasted the nectar of passion. 

Might not know any Veda, 

but a chariot swept her away- 

now she frolics in heaven, esctatically bound 

to her god. 

The Lord of Fallen Fools, says Mira, 

will save anyone 

who can practice rapture like that- 

I myself in a previous birth 

was a cowherding girl 

at Gokul.

Poem – To India – Sarojini Naidu

O YOUNG through all thy immemorial years! Rise, Mother, rise, regenerate from thy gloom, 

And, like a bride high-mated with the spheres, 

Beget new glories from thine ageless womb! 
The nations that in fettered darkness weep 

Crave thee to lead them where great mornings break . . . . 

Mother, O Mother, wherefore dost thou sleep? 

Arise and answer for thy children’s sake! 
Thy Future calls thee with a manifold sound 

To crescent honours, splendours, victories vast; 

Waken, O slumbering Mother and be crowned, 

Who once wert empress of the sovereign Past.

Poem – In Praise Of Henna – Sarojini Naidu 

A KOKILA called from a henna-spray: 

Lira! liree! Lira! liree! 

Hasten, maidens, hasten away 

To gather the leaves of the henna-tree. 

Send your pitchers afloat on the tide, 

Gather the leaves ere the dawn be old, 

Grind them in mortars of amber and gold, 

The fresh green leaves of the henna-tree. 
A kokila called from a henna-spray: 

Lira! liree! Lira! liree! 

Hasten maidens, hasten away 

To gather the leaves of the henna-tree. 

The tilka’s red for the brow of a bride, 

And betel-nut’s red for lips that are sweet; 

But, for lily-like fingers and feet, 

The red, the red of the henna-tree.

Poem – Are You Looking for Me ? – Kabir 

Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat. My shoulder is against yours. 

you will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine 

rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals: 

not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding 

around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but 

When you really look for me, you will see me 

instantly — 

you will find me in the tiniest house of time. 
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God? 

He is the breath inside the breath.

poem – life

CHILDREN, ye have not lived, to you it seems
Life is a lovely stalactite of dreams,
Or carnival of careless joys that leap
About your hearts like billows on the deep
In flames of amber and of amethyst.

Children, ye have not lived, ye but exist
Till some resistless hour shall rise and move
Your hearts to wake and hunger after love,
And thirst with passionate longing for the things
That burn your brows with blood-red sufferings.

Till ye have battled with great grief and fears,
And borne the conflict of dream-shattering years,
Wounded with fierce desire and worn with strife,
Children, ye have not lived: for this is life.

Poem – This Was Not Our Destiny – Mirza Ghalib

This was not our destiny, that union with the beloved would take place.
If we had kept on living longer, then would have been kept waiting

If I lived on your promise, then know this that I knew it to be false
For would I not have died of happiness, if I had had trust [in it]?

From your delicacy I knew that the vow had been bound loosely
You could never have broken it, if it had been firm

Let someone ask my heart about your half-drawn arrow
Where would this anxiety/ pain have come from, if it had gone through the liver?

What kind of friendship is this, that friends have become Advisors?
If someone had been a healer, if someone had been a sympathizer!

From the rock-vein would drip that blood which would never have stopped
If this which you are considering ‘grief’ this were just a spark

Although grief is life-threatening, how would we escape, while there is a heart?

If there were not the grief of passion, there would be the grief of livelihood

To whom might I say what it is- the night of sadness is a bad disaster!
Why would I have minded dying, if it took place one time?

Since upon having died, I became disgraced- why were I not drowned in the ocean?
Neither a funeral procession would ever been formed, nor would there anywhere be a tomb

Who can see him? for that Oneness is unique
If there were even a whiff of twoness, then somehow [He] would be two or four

These problems of mysticism! this discourse of yours, Ghalib!
We would consider you a saint- if you weren’t a wine-drinker.
Mirza Ghalib

Poem – The World is a Playground – Mirza Ghalib

I perceive the world as a playground
Where dawn and dusk appear in eternal rounds
In His Universal form is a plaything the throne of Solomon
The miracles of the Messiah seem so ordinary in my eyes
Without name I cannot comprehend any form
Illusionary but is the identity of all objects
My anguish envelopes the entire desert
Silently flows the river in front of my floods
Ask not what separation has done to me
Just see your poise when I come in front of you
Truly you say that I am egotistical and proud
It is the reflection, O friend, in your limited mirror
To appreciate the style and charm of conversation
Just bring in the goblet and wine
Hatred manifests due to my envious mind
Thus I say, don’t take his name in front of me
Faith stops me while temptations attract
Inspite of Kaaba behind and church ahead
I am the Lover, yet notorious is my charm
Thus Laila calls names to Majnu in front of me
‘Dies’ not one though the union is a delight
In premonition of the separation night
Alas, this be it, the bloody separation wave
I know not what else is in store ahead of me
Though the hands don’t move, the eyes are alive
Wine and goblet, let them stay in front of me
Says ‘Ghalib’
Conscience is companion and trusted friend
Don’t pass any judgments in front of me.
Mirza Ghalib

A Rajput Love Song – Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu (13 February 1879 - 2 March 1949 / Hyderabad / India)

Sarojini Naidu
(13 February 1879 – 2 March 1949 / Hyderabad / India)

(Parvati at her lattice)
O Love! were you a basil-wreath to twine
among my tresses,
A jewelled clasp of shining gold to bind around my sleeve,
O Love! were you the keora’s soul that haunts
my silken raiment,
A bright, vermilion tassel in the girdles that I weave;

O Love! were you the scented fan
that lies upon my pillow,
A sandal lute, or silver lamp that burns before my shrine,
Why should I fear the jealous dawn
that spreads with cruel laughter,
Sad veils of separation between your face and mine?

Haste, O wild-bee hours, to the gardens of the sun set!
Fly, wild-parrot day, to the orchards of the west!
Come, O tender night, with your sweet,
consoling darkness,
And bring me my Beloved to the shelter of my breast!

(Amar Singh in the saddle)
O Love! were you the hooded hawk upon my hand
that flutters,
Its collar-band of gleaming bells atinkle as I ride,
O Love! were you a turban-spray or
floating heron-feather,
The radiant, swift, unconquered sword
that swingeth at my side;

O Love! were you a shield against the
arrows of my foemen,
An amulet of jade against the perils of the way,
How should the drum-beats of the dawn
divide me from your bosom,
Or the union of the midnight be ended with the day?

Haste, O wild-deer hours, to the meadows of the sunset!
Fly, wild stallion day, to the pastures of the west!
Come, O tranquil night, with your soft,
consenting darkness,
And bear me to the fragrance of my Beloved’s breast!